Kathmandu, January 11 Dozens of young activists and conservationists this evening organised a candle light vigil at Maitighar Mandala, in support of Dilip Kumar Mahato, 24, of Janakpur, who was allegedly killed yesterday morning by river miners. Mahato was crushed to death by a tipper.

Youths lighting candles for Dilip Kumar Mahato who was killed for protesting against sand mining on the banks of the Aurikhola in Mithila Municipality on Friday, at Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu, on Saturday. Photo: Bal Krishna Thapa / THT
Youths lighting candles for Dilip Kumar Mahato who was killed for protesting against sand mining on the banks of the Aurikhola in Mithila Municipality on Friday, at Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu, on Saturday. Photo: Bal Krishna Thapa / THT
Mahato, a local activist, had been protesting against the ongoing unauthorised excavation on the banks of the Aurahikhola River near his home in Shreepur Tol of Mithila Municipality. Activists, during today’s vigil programme chanted slogans demanding safety of rights activists and stringent punishment for the perpetrators. Sanjay Adhikari one of the organisers said, “This is a traumatic situation for all activists and conservationists. Mahato was killed for raising his voice against illegal mining in the river. The river serves as lifeline for villagers as most of them are farmers.” Adhikari said that it was probably the first incident where an activist was killed for raising voice on conservation issue. Adhikari said that river mining was particularly harmful for adjoining farmland as excessive mining was likely to flood farmland during monsoon. Mahato, a student of mechanical engineering, had been advocating against it, according to Roshan Kumar Mahato, a cousin of the deceased. Roshan, during the candle light vigil, demanded compensation for the mourning family.