Dhangadi, August 24
Four years on after violent confrontation between Tharu and Pahadi communities, damage done to the long standing harmony between them is yet to be restored.
People of one community are suspicious of members from the other community and they don’t feel safe walking alone in villages of the other community. Social activist Hari Regmi blamed political leaders for the cold relation between the communities.
“There are groups which pit the communities against each other for their vested political interest. They have never made efforts to mend the damaged relations. Organising the Tharuhat-Tharuwan National Convention in Tikapur coinciding with the same day when the deadly clash occurred, is an attempt to worsen the sore relations between the Tharus and the Pahadis rather than mending it,” Regmi said. Organisers of the conference have argued that it is meant to improve the strained relations between the Tharus and the Pahadi communities in the wake of the Tikapur carnage.
Eight people including seven security personnel and a child were killed during the Tharuhat agitation in Tikapur on August 24, four years ago. Slain security personnel included Seti Zonal Police Office Dhangadi chief SSP Laxman Neupane, inspectors Balaram bista and Keshav Bohara and constables Laxman Khadka and Lokendra Chand.
Armed Police Force head constables Ram Bihari Chaudhary and Lalit Saud and two-year-old son of Netra Bahadur Saud were also killed. One day after the confrontation, houses, shops and media owned by the Tharu community were torched, which caused a large number of people to be displaced. Years after the carnage, cross-community harmony is yet to be restored.
“What we have on the ground is attempt to keep the memory alive. How can people forget the incident when there is a mass gathering in the name of Tharuhat-Tharuwan Conference?” asked Gopal Deuba, coordinator of Intact Far-west Agitation.
A version of this article appears in print on August 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.