21-27 August 2015 #722

Unholy politics

Sumitra Bhattarai in Dhangadi for Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ), 18 August

Villagers cutting grass near Dhangadi recently saw an injured cow fallen in a ditch. The villagers informed police and the cow was rescued but died the next day while undergoing treatment. In an indication of just how volatile things can get when one mixes politics with religion members of the Hindu Rastra Struggle Committee declared a shutdown throughout Far-Western region last week. One of the organisers of a protest rally told us: “We have heard that about ten cows have been slaughtered by people from other religions.” Soon later, Kamal Thapa-led Rastrya Prajatantra Party-Nepal issued a press statement condemning ‘mass cow slaughter.’

Surya Bahadur Chand of Nepal Police, who has been investigating the case, told us: “There was no mass slaughtering. We found only one cow injured. It is common for locals to dump their old animals in the forest. It is worrying that media and locals have reacted to rumours and hearsay.”

Since then, the western Tarai has been shutdown over demarcation of the western province and the Tharu agitation. The last time such communal sentiments were deliberately stoked, there were riots between Hindus and Muslims in Nepalgunj. Said one local: “We don’t seem to have learned anything from it.”

Read also:

Federalism, republicanism and secularism, Anurag Acharya

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