Land of Buddha back to bloodbath just as peace was around the corner!

Dead policemen in a local morgue in Kailali distrct, western Nepal.
Bodies of deceased policemen lie strewn across the floor of a morgue in Kailali district, western Nepal.

Just when the world was beginning to witness the birthplace of Buddha return to peace, there has been a bloodbath in the Himalayan nation. A mob of irate Tharuhat protesters lynched at least eight police officers in western Nepal yesterday.

The Tharuhat supporters have been protesting against the demarcation of borders of the proposed provinces.

Nepalese living across the world have taken to social media to express disbelief that the otherwise friendly and nationalistic Tharus are capable of killing police officers in such cold blood. They suspect the protesters may have been used by some sinister politically-motivated groups.

Slain SSP Laxman Neupane
Slain SSP Laxman Neupane

The victims of today’s conflict, which occurred little after 2 pm local time in Nepal, tragically include a two year old boy who was hit by a bullet after police opened fire to control the bloodthirsty mob.

The massacre reminded Nepalese people of the brutality of a decade-long armed conflict between the Nepalese army and the former Maoist guerrillas. The protesters impaled Senior Superintendent of Police Laxman Neupane with a spear while inspectors Balaram Bista and Keshav Bohora were hacked to death. Head constable Ram Bihari Chaudhary suffered the most horrendous death as the perpetrators burned him alive.

Eye witnesses told local media that police did not have enough time to react to the attack, probably because they did not anticipate that the protesters would attack them the way they did.The unsuspecting police officers were simply taken by surprise as they tried to peacefully disperse the crowd, it is understood.

Over 50 injured policemen and Tharu protesters are currently being treated at a local hospital in the western Nepal town of Tikapur.

Nepal conflict FAcebookThe incident occurred when Tharuhat protesters, who are demanding a separate Tharu province under the proposed constitution, defied the government-imposed curfew in Munuwa VDC in Kailali district. Would-be protesters from various districts had earlier converged on Tikapur with spears, Khukris, catapults and other sharp weapons, the chief district officer of Kailali told a local news outlet yesterday afternoon.

Many are pointing fingers at the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). They believe the former underground communist party is somehow involved in the tragic incident.

Although he fell short of directly blaming the Maoists, veteran journalist Tirtha Koirala’s Facebook status indicated the ethnic Tharus have been used as mere pawns. He warned the incident may well be repeated should the government fail to bring the responsible to book failing which the current government should resign.

Nepal Police had won the hearts of millions of Nepalese living across the world by playing a crucial role in helping the victims of the recent Nepal earthquake. Given the very limited disaster relief resources  they had, police personnel had performed fantastic saving scores of earthquake victims by pulling them alive out of the rubble. Against this recent backdrop, people have been left devastated by what has happened to the very same policemen within months of their unselfish contribution to the nation. People have been touched by the incident and the national mood is overwhelmingly in favour of the police force.

There have been a number of violent protests in recent weeks leading to the deaths of three men. These demonstrations are against the proposed internal borders in the new constitution.

Army has been mobilised in Kailali, likely to be deployed in Rautahat and Sarlahi districts

According to our correspondent Krandan Chapagain, Ministry for Home Affairs has given the Chief District Officers of the affected districts the authority to declare “riot-hit zone” as per the Local Administration Act and mobilise army should the need arise. Under the provision, the Nepalese Army shall have some sweeping emergency powers including to detain any suspect without warrants. Whereas the army has already been deployed in Kailali, same may occur in case of Rautahat and Sarlahi where mobs with similar behaviour and weapons have been spotted across the districts.

Attackers came from the ‘south’

Updating the parliament about the incident, Home Minister Bamdev Gautam said the attackers came from all directions including from the ‘south‘. In an audio available on the Internet, Mr Gautam claimed the incident was a ‘pre-planned’ attack on the members of the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force.

This article has been edited to reflect the correct number of fatalities.

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