Thursday, September 20, 2007

Abdul Moeed Khan's killing & anti-Muslim violence in Nepal

The anti-Muslim violence is Nepal hasn't stopped and tension prevails in the entire region following the killing of Madhesi leader Abdul Moeed Khan by a Maoist in Nepal and the attack on life and property of Muslims in several towns in the country.

Business establishments, shops, eateries (dhabas) and houses of Madhesis, especially Muslims, were targeted, looted and set ablaze by the Pahadis. Scores of vehicles including 48 buses and many other cars and two-wheelers were earlier set afire. Around 300 houses were torched by mob in Chandrauta alone, officials confirmed. Mosques have also been attacked.

Factories and saw mills have also been burnt. Nearly 28 persons have been killed in the violence so far and there is tension on this side of border as well. Indian security forces, particularly, SSB are keeping an eye on the situation in Siddharth Nagar district in UP.

Reports indicate that hundreds of people fled their homes due to violence. Curfew continues in several Nepal towns and movement at border has been stopped. The Muslim-dominated Khairi town was the worst affected and all the shops in the six km area from Halapur to Chandrauta. (Kapilvastu district is the worst affected)

Earlier, Moid Khan, the executive president of Madhesi Democratic Front was buried amid the presence of his supporters and residents of the town. It was following the burial procession that the Madheshi property and shops were attacked.

Khan was erstwhile chief of an anti-Maoist group and district committee member of Nepali Congress. Latest reports said that there was retaliatory violence from both sides in various towns in the region.

On several occasions in the recent years violent incidents and clashes have taken anti-Muslim turn in Nepal though such communal violence was not reported from the Himalayan republic in the past. Madhesis are the group of people who live in the Terai region adjoining India while Pahadis live in hilly region of Nepal.