28 Aug - 3 Sep 2015 #773

Planning to kill

www.himalkhabar.com, 25 August

When Madhesi leaders Upendra Yadav, Rajendra Mahato and Amaresh Singh provoked Kailali’s ethnic Tharus to drive away ‘outsiders from their lands’ three weeks ago, supporters of the Tharuhat movement were divided about their response. Attacking ‘outsiders’ would have sparked ethnic violence.

However, when a rally organised by hill settler supporters of the ‘Undivided Far-west’ province came across Tharu protesters in Tikapur of Kailali on 21 August the situation nearly turned ugly. Police brought the situation under control by dispersing both groups of agitators, and the local administration got all parties to agree that future protests would be peaceful.

That night some Tharu leaders held a late night meeting in a village near Durgauli and planned to use violence to jolt the state and push through their agenda for an autonomous Tharu province. But they were divided over their target: some wanted to attack supporters of the ‘Undivided Far-west’ while others wanted to attack the police. They finally agreed to target the police because killing Far West supporters would spark communal violence.

Tharuhat Struggle Committee’s Kailali district coordinator Resham Chaudhary, Birman Chaudhary of the UCPN(M) and Phul Man Chaudhary and Nep Bahadur Chaudhary of the Baidya faction of the CPN-M were at the meeting. Birman was an elected member of the previous Constituent Assembly while Phul Man contested the second CA elections from the UCPN (M).  Nep Bahadur is a former Maoist guerrilla commander and is now Kailali in-charge of the CPN-M.

“After that meeting, they gathered former Maoist guerrillas in Tikapur from nearby districts and scouted the places where they could trap us,” said a top police source. “But our intelligence failed us, and we didn’t know it beforehand.”

The group planned to trick the police into believing that their rally would be peaceful. A day before the killings,Tharu leaders held an all-party meeting in presence of CDO Raj Kumar Shrestha and issued a press statement that they would not resort to violence. Birman and Nep Bahadur were signatories.

“That is why we were not on high alert because we did not expect any violence,” said a top police officer. “But the way police officers have been killed suggests involvement of trained ex-guerrillas.”

Officials claim that ex-guerrillas who are now affiliated with Netra Bikram Chanda and Mohan Baidya’s Maoist parties were involved in the killings and that even the UCPN (M) allowed their Tharu cadres to protest.

Read also:

Kailali carnage