Youths have deserted villages in Kailali district fearing insecurity after Monday’s violent clashes led to nine deaths and regular curfew. Only the women and children are left behind. The local administration has clamped a curfew in and around Tikapur, the flashpoint of the Tharuhat protest. The government has also sent Nepal Army to aid the civilian authority there to maintain law and order. The locals refuse to approach unfamiliar faces that visit them. The sight of security personnel drives them away. Tharu community members also fear arrests. People of Hill origin also have fled the area fearing attacks from the Tharus. They suspect the indigenous people could attack them in revenge for vandalising and torching their houses in Tikapur following the violent clash. “What should never have happened has taken place. Both the Tharus and Pahades [the Hills people] fear each other now. As a result, the settlements are without youths,” said Naresh Malla of Joshipur-7.
The locals complain that the people had fled as the administration failed to ensure security. Both Tharu and Pahade people are taking shelter at their relatives’ houses in Lamki, Dhangadhi and Rajapur of Bardiya, among other places. There are only women, children and elderly citizens left in Joshipur, Manikapur, Kanchanpur, Manuwa, Durgauli and other villages around Tikapur. The communities have yet to hold talks for maintaining social harmony despite the urge from the public. “Nobody wants to leave their home if their security is assured,” said Giriraj Chaudhary. The youths, particularly those who attended Monday’s protest, left the villages fearing arrest. The locals were panicked after the police nabbed Sundar Chaudhary of Kanchanpur village, who was injured in the clash. According to a local, a large number of villagers had reached Tikapur on Monday as directed by Badghar, the chieftain of the Tharu community. A fine of Rs1,000 was announced for anyone not joining the rally.