* Two groups of students had a fight in Thimi on Tuesday. Rumours flew that it was an abduction attempt. Hundreds of people poured out into the streets and lynched two of the students to death.
* Two student unions affiliated to the ruling NC and the UML, both wanted to bag a contract to extend the chemistry lab of Tri-Chandra College in the heart of the capital. One side brought in armed goons. Shots are fired, injuring two students.
The war ended three years ago, but its violent legacy continues in a national epidemic of crime, extortion and kidnappings. High profile murders like that of Khyati Shrestha got wide play in the national media, feeding the public perception of a society drifting to the edge of anarchy. The new government, preoccupied with its own formation, seems oblivious. The police is powerless to stop the rot, and the public gets daily reminders of this on the streets.
The human rights watchdog, INSEC , says there were 38 murders nationwide between January-March: 10 by the police, nine by various Madhesi groups, two by the YCL and 27 by unknown criminal gangs. In June alone, 16 people villagers, suspected of being kidnappers, were lynched or burnt alive in the Tarai. Most were innocent.
Kantipur wrote an equally apocalyptic editorial: 'The state is incapable of protecting its citizens. The security administration needs to find out why it can't control the spreading lawlessness. Otherwise the flames of anarchy will spread.'
State security is paralysed because of the criminalisation of politics, say some analysts. When two journalists in Phidim were abducted and beaten last week by the YCL, the police refused to register their complaint, saying it was a "political matter". Police say they know the gunmen who entered Tri-Chandra, but can't arrest them because they have political patronage.
Next week's budget will grab the headlines, but people throughout the country will be more concerned about the worsening security.
See also: EAST-WEST with Kunda Dixit travel-blog on www.nepalitimes.com
Vanguards of vigilantism - FROM ISSUE #459 (10 JULY 2009 - 16 JULY 2009)