Tikapur tragedy: the Tharus must not be persecuted

Monday 26 September, 2016   |   Views and Analysis

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Shankar Limbu

Shankar Limbu

Changathali, Bhaktapur

Tikapur tragedy: the Tharus must not be persecuted


A year after eight policemen and a two-year-old child were lynched by a mob in Tikapur of Kailali district, that tragedy is making headlines once again, with media reports of the government preparing to dropping charges against 11 Tharu individuals who were arrested in connection to that massacre. People on social media are criticising the government for prompting impunity by not prosecuting them. But these media reports and comments on social media are not only one-sided, but also unjust, and perpetuate historical injustice against a marginalised indigenous community.

Deaths of innocent policemen are tragic, condemnable and need to be investigated. But the state is targeting innocent individuals without proper investigation and evidence. So these cases need to be dropped, and a free and fair investigation must be initiated. The media should also get rid of prejudices, and stop dehumanisign a community.  

The state is targeting innocent individuals without proper investigation and evidence. So these cases need to be dropped, and a free and fair investigation must be initiated. The media should also get rid of prejudices, and stop dehumanisign a community.  

A careful examination of charge sheets against the 11 Tharus arrested in connection with the Tikapur tragedy shows that police investigation is botched up in this case. They had not taken part in the protest rally that led to the tragedy.  They were arrested just because some unknown people said they were there during the incident. They have been tortured in police custody, according to a report by Amnesty International. They have already faced too much hardship, and now they need to be let go home and be with their families. 

A person has named as many as 78 Tharus for killing policemen. How can a person know names of so many Tharus who are not from the same village but from different parts of Kailali? It is hard to digest. Even the injured policemen have stated that they did not see the men who are in now jail. Eye witnesses have said that those who lynched policemen were wearing helmets and masks. So how did the man who named these 11 Tharu individuals identified  them? There are so many unanswered questions.

After the Tikapur tragedy, houses and properties of Tharus were burnt in Kailali. When they sought protection, the local administration did nothing. When they filed complaints, police refused to register them.

After the Tikapur tragedy, houses and properties of Tharus were burnt in Kailali. When they sought protection, the local administration did nothing. When they filed complaints, police refused to register them. They had to send their complaints through a post office. They were threatened by the administration. Their suffering was aggravated by a curfew that lasted for several days. The Constitution treats all Nepalis equally, but they did not feel equal. 

I must reiterate that what happened in Tikapur was tragic. But the innocent should not be punished. The entire community should not be demonised. 


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