KATHMANDU: The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urged the government to take urgent measures to defuse the ongoing violence in Biratnagar.
Issuing a press release today, AHRC said Police had indiscriminately fired on protesters who had just begun to gather to carry out their plan to burn a copy of the constitution promulgated yesterday.
“Police fired live bullets randomly, and eight to 10 persons were reported injured. The situation is extremely tense; even the injured could not be taken to hospitals immediately. It appears the police are themselves deliberately not taking people who have been shot to hospitals on time, so that those shot suffer more and end up dying without any treatment,” AHRC said in the release.
No curfew, the human rights body said, has been imposed in Biratnagar, but police brutality has escalated. “Around 500 police personnel entered the Muslim settlement ‘arhochiya and are going through the houses and beating villagers. The policemen are also shooting inside houses. Dozens have already been shot, and the number is rising as violence continues to unfold,” AHRC said in the release.
The situation is critical. The policemen are even showing disdain for human rights defenders and UN staff monitoring the protests; as a result the observers are staying away from protest areas in Biratnagar, the human rights body said in its release.
It said that on September 20, a group unidentified ‘goons’ wielding khukuris attacked protesters, seemingly under police protection, and police also fired bullets, entered private houses, and reportedly beat Madhesi women and children.
“If this indicates a new strategy – using thugs to attack the government’s perceived enemies – the possibility of intractable social conflict, and grave human rights abuses, looms large,” AHRC said.
AHRC claimed that earlier in the day, Morang CDO Ganesh Bahadur Karki had participated in a motorcycle rally organised by ruling parties.
A version of this article appears in print on September 22, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.