Nepal | August 04, 2020

Chaurjahari Incident: Premeditated caste-based violence, negligence on part of police, says report

The brutal killings were act of caste-based discrimination

Suresh Chaudhary
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The brutal killings were act of caste-based discrimination wherein negligence on the part of police is absolutely evident – Parliamentary Special Probe Committee member and Nepali Congress’ House of Representatives member Meen Bahadur Bishwokarma 

KATHMANDU: The Parliamentary Special Committee formed to investigate the Rukum West Chaurjahari incident submitted its report to Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota on Tuesday.

In the incident, six youths of Jajarkot district were killed after Nawaraj BK of Bheri Municipality-4 in Jajarkot had gone to visit his girlfriend in Soti, Chaurjahari Municipality-8 in Rukum West, on May 23.

Probe committee member Meen Bahadur Bishwokarma said, the investigation found caste-based discrimination and belief in ‘untouchability’ to be the main causes of the incident.

He said the girl’s parents had plotted to separate the two lovers by killing Nawaraj BK and his friends.

As per the report, on May 21, the girl spoke with Nawaraj over the phone and warned him that she would marry another person in four days if he did not take her away and marry her. Nawaraj then shared his problem with some of his friends. The information also reached one of the girl’s relatives, Pratik Malla alias Ghamanda Malla, who immediately apprised the girl’s parents of the situation, on May 22.

The girl’s parents, in conversation with Pratik, talked about letting Nawaraj and his friends come to Rukum where they would kill them.

On May 23, Nawaraj along with his friends reached Soti in Chaurjahari where the girl’s father and brother saw them near Dhungakhani. However, they did not react on seeing them, then. The youths reached the girl’s home where they encountered her mother who abused them with stinging rebuke and called for help after which villagers including the municipality’s ward-8 chair started to gather.

Subsequently, when Nawaraj and his friends were about to leave the place, one of the villagers, Maan Bahadur Malla, stopped them to offer bayberry and water. The youths were frightened by the approaching villagers. They started running towards the highway, however, the villagers chased them, charged them, pelted them with stones and axed Nawaraj and five others including Sanju who bore a cut on his forehead.

The investigation committee found the bodies of the deceased bearing cuts and wounds. “The investigation also points towards the grave negligence on the part of police as only two police personnel had reached the site unarmed where the youths were being beaten,” Lawmaker Bishwokarma said and added that police did not intervene against the violence.

On the contrary, they detained the youths and took them in police custody at Chaurjahari-based Area Police Office without questioning any of the attackers. Furthermore, the police turned down the request made by the detainees to find six of their missing friends.

The probe committee members, on the report, have mentioned the incident’s cause, nature, involved parties. They have also noted down 19-point conclusion and 24 recommendations to authorities including HoR members and prosecutors (including the clarification sought from police and administration).

Probe Committee member Bishwokarma further lamented that lawmakers from both Jajarkot and Rukum districts have still kept mum and that they did not even offer condolences to the bereaved families.

The House of Representatives, on June 8, had formed the nine-member high-level committee to probe the incident — Chaurjahari Municipality, Soti Incident Investigation Committee — led by Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Devendra Poudel and including HoR members Meen Bahadur Bishwokarma, Durga Poudel, Ekbal Miyan, Bimala Bishwokarma, Parvati Bishunke, Maheshwar Jung Gahatraj, Ram Sahaya Prasad Yadav, and Prakash Rasaili.

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