28 Aug - 3 Sep 2015 #773


missing men: Women of Manuwa village in Kailali wait for the return of the male members of their families who have all run away fearing arrests after the killing by protesters of eight policemen and a child on Monday.

The Kailali killings this week indicate how the anger was boiling over in the western Tarai, how the constitution carvers in Kathmandu seemed to be insensitive or didn’t care about the demands of the Tharu people for recognition, and how the radical breakaway Maoists were spoiling for a fight. All these factors led to the deadly confluence of events in Tikapur that left nine dead, including a senior police officer and a two-year-old child.

Even before the Tikapur lynching, the Tharuhat Struggle Committee and Madhesi activists had shut down Nepal’s plains for a week or more, essentially blockading the hill and mountains. In Kailali, serious ethnic tensions were building up between the Tharus and NC-UML activists belonging to those supporting an ‘undivided’ far-west.

The top party leaders in Kathmandu added fuel to the fire by giving in to the demands in Surkhet after weeks of violent protests there by adding a province in the west, but ignoring Tharu demands. They have been so blinded in their dismissal of political rivals, they fail to notice things are slipping beyond the political realm, taking a dangerous communal turn.

Rulers here tend not to notice, or underestimate the anger outside. The Madhesi people may be disillusioned with their leaders, but there is simmering distrust over Pahadi politicians in Kathmandu not treating them with enough respect.

The longer the political grievances remain unaddressed, the greater the danger of extremist takeover. The Kailali killings, disturbances in Nawalparasi, Rautahat and Saptari, all point towards this danger.