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Tharus flee villages

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
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Only Tharu women, children and elderly are left in villages of Kailali district. Photo: Bachu BK

Bachu BK in Kailali

After the massacre of eight policemen and one 18 months old child in Tikapur, most Tharu youths have fled villages of Kailali district fearing arrests.

In villages adjacent to Tikapur, only women, children and elderly are seen these days. Youths have either fled villages or are recovering from injuries at various hospitals. “Young men are not here,” says Guna Das Chaudhary, an elderly medical shop owner in Manuwa village where thousands of protesters had gathered before advancing towards Tikapur. “We are all terrified.”

On Monday, thousands of protesters brandishing spears, knives and spades ran over police and Armed Police Force (APF) personnel killing SSP Laxman Neupane, inspector duo Keshav Bohara and Balram Bista, 18-months-old Tek Bahadur Saud and four other security personnel. A police constable, Janak Negi, succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment in Kathmandu last night.

adssfEven youths from the hill community have fled villages, fearing attacks by Tharu protesters. “Both communities are suspicious with each other,” says Naresh Malla of Joshipur village. In his village, the hill community has only 15 families and most of his friends have left for nearby towns.

After the Kailali carnage, the government has declared Tikapur and surrounding villages as a riot zone and has deployed the army there. The army, police and APF teams have been patrolling the area 24 hours. Police have arrested more than two dozens of injured protesters from hospitals, fueling fears among the Tharu youths that they might also be arrested.

“Badghar (ethnic organisation) had instructed all youths to take part in protests, they would otherwise have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000,” says  Sita Chaudhary of Manuwa village. “So, youths cannot stay on in villages.”

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