Tension flares after tipper kills youth

Surkhet, January 28

Local administration imposed curfew in Surkhet’s Birendranagar today to bring under control the tense situation sparked by the death of a youth, who was hit by a tipper.

District Administration Office, Surkhet issued the curfew order effective from 6:30pm today to 6:00am tomorrow after locals agitated following the accident and resorted to vandalism and arson. The curfew was imposed as precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incidents, said a DAO source.

The curfew covers area from the Itramkhola River in the east to Bangesimal in the west and Kapase Barrack in the north to 500metre area from Ratna Highway in the south, thereby preventing the movement and gathering of people in the designated areas during the curfew period.

Twenty-year-old Keshar Singh of Kalikot’s Mahawai Rural Municipality-3, temporarily living in Birendranagar Municipality-3, died in the accident this morning, which then sparked an agitation by the locals. They accused the tipper driver of intentionally crushing the youth to death and staged a chakkajam, seeking action against the driver and compensation for the deceased’s family.

According to the Surkhet District Police Office, the agitators ransacked and torched a number of offices at different places, including the office of the District Chamber of Commerce and Industry and police post in Erichowk today.

Police said they were yet to collect details of the damage caused by acts of vandalism by the agitators.

Locals have said eight persons were injured when police opened fire on the agitators. Five injured persons have been identified as Mahesh Gautam, 25, of Jumla, Hridesh Kumar Shahi,16, Krishna Bahadur Thapa, 17, and Gokul Giri 26, of Dailekh and Kaman Singh 30, of Kalikot. Police have yet to establish the identity of three others injured in the incident. The injured have been treated at a local hospital.

Surkhet District Police Office SP Dilliraj Panta claimed the police had fired two rounds in the air to take the situation under control. “Someone must have fired additional shots from the crowd to provoke the agitators. We’re investigating the incident. The guilty will be punished,” he said. Singh’s body is being kept at Karnali Province Hospital for post-mortem. Police have seized the tipper and detained its driver.