BARDIYA, Dec 30: Ram Bahadur Shahi, a local of Deudakala in Bardiya district who was shot by police on suspicion of stealing idols from a Jumla temple some three weeks ago, claimed that they opened fire at his knee without justifiable grounds. Shahi sustained severe injuries in the incident that took place on December 10.
The idol has already been proved not to belong to Chandannath Temple, from where idols were stolen. However, it has been sent to the Department of Archaeology to determine whether or not it is of historical importance, according to SP Bharat Bahadur Bohara of District Police Office, Bardiya.
“It will be confirmed whether or not the idol is of archeological importance only after the investigations,” said Bohara.
Shahi said, “I bought this idol from Lalitpur for Rs 25,000 last week. But I decided to sell it as someone offered me an attractive price.”
According to him, plain-clothes police posing as customers shot him without establishing any wrongdoing by him. “I told them I had done nothing wrong and begged them not to shoot but they did not listen and opened fire.”
Shahi was initially admitted to Nepalgunj Hospital and he has been receiving treatment at District Hospital, Gulariya since the last four days.
According to his family, Shahi had decided to sell the idol after Bihari Kirhna Chaudhary, a local, informed them about a customer who was offering a good price.
“Everybody in the village knew that we had this idol and that my father purchased it from Lalitpur. But we were going through a financial crisis and decided to sell it as the customer was willing to offer a better price than we expected” said Shahi’s son Bibek.
Deudakala locals who know Shahi very well said they had never heard he was into any such illegal activity. “We have never seen him or heard of him engaged in such activity and when we heard about this incident we were shocked,” said one local who didn’t wanted to be named.
A joint team of Nepal Police, the Central Investigation Bureau, the Regional Investigation Bureau and Laxmana Police Station was involved in the shooting of Shahi.
However, DIG Madav Prasad Nepal at Regional Police said Shahi tried to get at the guns the police were carrying. “He was unintentionally shot while we were trying to bring him under control,” said DIG Nepal.