Three years on, 36 Tikapur accused still at large

August 23, 2018 06:00 AM Yogesh Rawal

Main accused elected to parliament

TIKAPUR, Aug 23:  Exactly three years ago today, the Tikapur incident claimed the lives of eight security personnel and a toddler. The unfortunate incident happened during the Madhes movement. Three years after the incident, the country has successfully held local, provincial and parliamentary elections. Resham Lal Chaudhary, the prime suspect in the Tikapur carnage, was elected to parliament from Kailali Constituency-1.

Chaudhary went on the lam following the carnage. But he also contested the election, as a candidacy of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN). Even from hiding, he had managed to secure twice the number of votes received by his closest rival. He surrendered to the district court Dhangadi, on February 26 this year. Shortly thereafter, he was airlifted to Kathmandu for 'treatment'. Currently, he is serving a jail term at Dillibazaar prison .

As he is still in jail, Chaudhary has not received his election win certificate from the Election Commission, nor has he been able to take his oath of office as a lawmaker. He once staged a hunger strike demanding the poll certificate and an oath taking ceremony. He discontinued the strike after receiving some assurances from Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa. Supporters of the Tharuhat protests, which are at odds with the Madhes movement, have accused the authorities of politicizing Tikpur .

Chaudhary's poll victory shows the political nature of Tikapur , the Tharuhat supporters have been claiming. However, the government has treated the incident as a strictly criminal act.

Sitaram Badayak, 65, of Muniwa in Janaki Rural Municipality said it is unfortunate for Chaudhari to be in jail despite being an elected representative of the people.

“Lack of an elected representative has caused lots of problems in our area. We have nobody to speak about our problems,” he said.

Many other locals of Chaudhary's constituency have expressed support for him. “The government should decide his case quickly,” said Firu Lal Chaudhary, a human rights activist.The Tikapur incident took place when supporters of the Madhes movement came to thwart Tharuhat supporters from coming to demonstrate in Tikapur.

They clashed with police in the process, resulting in the brutal lynching of eight police personnel including Senior Superintendent of Police Laxman Nepane, as well as a one-and-a-half-year-old toddler.The local administration of Tikapur and surrounding areas clamped a curfew for many days following the incident. The government also deployed Nepal Army personnel, worried that the Armed Police Force and Nepal Police alone might not be able to handle the growing agitations.

So far, the government has file case against 58 individuals accused of involvement in the incident. Of them, 22 have been arrested while the remaining are still at large. Two minors involved in the incident have been sent to a juvenile correction center.  



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