Dhangadi, August 24
Tharuhat-Tharuwan National Conference has kicked off in Tikapur of Kailali district, where eight people lost their lives in a violent confrontation four years ago.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the three-day event, former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai demanded release of Resham Lal Chaudhary, who is serving time for the carnage.
“Resham Lal Chaudhary is a member of the Parliament, elected by the people. I don’t see any reason why he should be behind bars,” said Bhattarai.
Eight persons, including seven policemen and a minor, were killed in violent confrontation in Tikapur during the Tharuhat-Tharuwan agitation on August 24, four years ago.
Eleven persons including Resham Lal Chaudhary, who was later elected as an MP, are in prison after the court convicted them for the incident and slapped them with life imprisonment.
Bhattarai shared his plan of demarcating the region east from Khutiya of Kailali to Kapivastu as a separate Tharuwan province during state-restructuring.
“Our plan of a separate Tharuwan Province did not materialise due to opposition by a section of people with vested interest. Now it’s high time the Tharus stood up for it,” he said.
People, including journalist Kishor Nepal, and writers Yug Pathak, Bijaya Karna and Khagendra Sangraula addressed the inauguration session today.
Though its organisers claimed that the conference was for restoring harmony between the communities that fell apart following the violent incident, various Tharu organisations have different views on this.
While Tharu organisation affiliated with Nepal Communist Party (NCP) abstained from participating in the event, another Tharu organisation close to Nepali Congress party lent tacit support. Even Tharu Kalyankari Sabha is divided over the conference.
Tharu leaders from different districts across the country have assembled in Tikapur to attend the three-day conference.
A version of this article appears in print on August 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.