Bethari Bazaar firing: Victims narrate tale of horror

Rupandehi, Oct. 23 (ANI): The families of those killed in the police firing in Nepal’s Rupandehi district last month demand justice while narrating the tale of horror.

Bethari Bazaar, once a bustling market place, remains quiet since the untoward incident of police firing in the area on September 15.

Many residents, including women and children died, when the security forces carried out indiscriminate firing at the busy marketplace.

Witnesses said the security personnel resorted to firing after some of the protestors entered the marketplace. The incident took place when the protestors attempted to stop the goods laden trucks at Lumbini corridor.

“They did not give any chance to escape and opened indiscriminate firing. The policemen gave the shooting orders,” said Manohar Gopal Lakol, an eyewitness, when asked as to why the police personnel opened fired on the locals.

The security personnel were escorting the goods-laden trucks while it was agreed that no trucks will be allowed to ply as the protests were going on. There were around 300 to 400 police personnel, who were escorting the vehicles.

Lakshmi Chettri, another eyewitness, got emotional while narrating the horrific incident.

“They told us to close the shops and remain inside. When we returned, we saw dead bodies in the area. They imposed curfew in the evening and everybody returned to their homes. The goods were scattered here and there,” she said.

Nandani Pandey, a shopkeeper, was among those killed in the police firing. Her family members are still in shock and demand justice from the Nepal Government.

“My mother used to run this shop as we are studying. Our father is working outside and he comes home occasionally. My mother used to run the shop and also do household works,” said Priyanka Pandey, the victim’s daughter.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), at least 45 people were killed during the protests in August and September in the Terai region.

The HRW said the violence included the use of arbitrary and disproportionate force and extrajudicial killings by the police against the protestors.

The local Madhesi leaders here claim that at least 20 people were killed or displaced following the firing on September 15.

“They have killed around 20 people. Many people have disappeared and we are trying to get information about their whereabouts. People of all age groups were targeted and we call it an inhumane act,” said Madhesi leader Santosh Pandey.

“No one will kill animals as they have killed the people in the area. Some 1.5 crore people live in Madhesh and they are suffering. It is an attempt to vanish their identity. It should be remembered as massacre,” he added.

Nepal has recently witnessed violent protests by the Madhesi people who live in the fertile Terai plains bordering India. The other minority communities have also protested as discriminatory the new Constitution promulgated on September 20.

The HRW has demanded that Nepal’s newly-elected Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli should order an investigation into the unfortunate incident and publicly call on the security personnel to desist from any excessive use of force. (ANI)

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