Harmony between Tharu and non-Tharu communities should be fostered

Siddharaj Bhatta

Tikapur (Kailali): Bhadrabir Chaudhary of Durgauli is dejected over the breach of relations between people from Tharu community and non-Tharu community following Tikapur incident.

Chaudhary however is well aware that attempts have been made to generate conflict between the two communities for fulfilling someone else’s desire and wish. Chaudhary, who is involved with Nepali Congress politics, said, "We had been enjoying a very cordial and friendly relations so far."

A day after the incident, Chaudhary shared how he could not openly talk with his long-time friend of the Upadhaya caste. Chaudhary said that Upadhaya, who was in Kathmandu for some work when the incident took place, had telephoned him, urged to restore calm and order. "Harmony between Tharu community and non-Tharu community can be restored if an effort for the same is made at the local level itself."

Similarly, Tej Bahadur Kumal, leader of Tharu community, from Durgauli is also sad over the incident. Expressing worry over it, Kumal said that all including leaders of Tharu community and non-Tharu community gentlemen should take initiatives to reinstate the relations existing between Tharu and non-Tharu communities for long.

A local teacher Hemraj Timilsena said Tikapur folks have not been able to sleep well since the August 24 gruesome violence that culminated in the tragic death of eight security personnel and a toddler. The hilly community people are in fear of possible attack from the people of Tharu community and vice-versa.

The Tikapur violence was an outcome of a clash between the security forces and the Tharuhat cadres who were agitating demanding a separate Tharuhat province in the new constitution.

The people no matter they are hilly or Thaurus of Basanta village of Tikapur Municipality have remained dispassionate by the incident and are living in harmony as earlier. The village is a home to around 70 families of Tharus and 10 of the hill origin.

However, threat of an entry of third party, seeking an 'appropriate' opportunity into the village to jeopardise the communal harmony cannot be ruled out, the locals said.

Some locals feel that 'provoking' public statements by some Madhesi leaders during the Tikapur assembly recently abetted the Tikapur violence.

Some have even reached to a conclusion that the Kailali people became the victims of a negative message that hilly people would be displaced if the district was merged into a province as demanded by the Tharus and the vice-versa.

The Kailali folks are in the dire need of reestablishment of social harmony in their locality. But no efforts have been made as yet from any sector towards that end.

Kailali is waiting for a leadership that can mediate between the two sides and calm down the situation, Area Administration Office Chief Suman Dhital said.

After the clash, locals are found still worried considering the possible clash. No youths from Tharu and Hilly communities are found at their homes these days.

Meanwhile, an investigation team of the National Human Rights Commission is probing into the case in Tikapur.

Chief District Officer of the district Mohan Bahadur Chapagain has urged all to maintain social harmony. Organizing a press conference, he urged not to disseminate the news that disharmonizes the society in the social media and other networks. He also warned of initiating legal action if such activities were found.

Following the Tikapur incident, dozens of houses of locals including of lawmaker Janak Chaudhary were set ablaze by the agitators.

The District Administration Office has meanwhile enforced curfew in Dhangadhi and Tikapur areas for the past six days .The DAO enforced curfew not to let law and order in the district go out of control after the incident that took place in Tikapur on Monday afternoon, it is learnt.

Tikapur areas as well as nearby areas including the Bhajani-Trishakti Municipality have been declared as the riot-hit area and the security has also been beefed up.