NAWALPARASI: Police in Kawasoti of Nawalparasi today opened five rounds of fire on a crowd of protesters and lobbed 15 tear-gas shells, leaving four demonstrators injured.
Condition of the four, who received bullets on their chest and back, is said to be critical. Nine others, including three policemen, were also wounded in a clash between protesters and police.
The incident took place in front of Kaligandaki Hospital when police used bullets and tear-gas shells in a bid to stop a group of Tharu demonstrators from entering the Kawasoti Bazaar. According to police, a police team led by Inspectors Umesh Lamsal and Dilli Narayan Pandey resorted to firing and tear-gas after the demonstrators started hurling stones, canes and iron rods towards them. Dhan Bahadur Thanet, Mahendra Magar, Tara Bahadur Thanet and Bishal Mahato have received bullet injuries while Tek Bahadur Chaudhari, Birendra Mahato, Koshi Ram Mahato and others were wounded in police baton charge. Inspector Dilli Narayan Pandey and SI Krishna Prasad Khanal were also injured.
According to Nawalparasi SP Gyan Bikram Shah, critically injured policemen and demonstrators were undergoing treatment at Chitwan-based Bharatpur Medical College. Majhilal Tharu, General Secretary, Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha, said condition of Dhan Bahadur and Bishal was critical. “We are planning to send them to Kathmandu for further treatment,” he said.
Today’s incident in Nawalparasi has its roots in yesterday’s clash in Nawalparasi that occurred between Tharu activists and those heading to Butwal to attend a mass meet organised by the members of Brahmin, Chhetri, Dashnami, Thakuri and Dalit society. The Tharu activists had enforced a strike calling for a Tharuhat state and clashed with the latter for defying the bandh. The Brahmin, Chhetri, Dashnami, Thakuri and Dalit society members had then vandalised Tharu National Museum, prompting the Tharus to enforce a Nawalparasi bandh today. Earlier today, a group of Tharu youth from Thana Chowk and locals had also clashed in Kawasoti.
The incident occurred today amid ongoing talks among local administration, Tharu leaders and representatives of Brahmin, Chhetri, Dashnami, Thakuri and Dalit society. But after reaching a five-point deal, the Joint Tharuhat Struggle Committee called off the strike at 4:00pm.
Nawalparasi Chief District Officer Shashi Shekhar Shrestha said the Tharus withdrew their strike after a deal which calls for a probe into today’s incident, medical expenses to the injured and compensation for the museum loss. “The deal also appeals to all to maintain social harmony,” said Shrestha.
The protesters took vehicles carrying Annapurna Post and Gorakhapatra under control for “not carrying news related to them.” Nawalparasi chapter of Federation of Nepali Journalists condemned the incident.HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE