Police are searching for youths who drove out a group of women who had arrived in Kathmandu to participate in the demonstration called by medical entrepreneur Durga Prasai for Thursday from a banquet hall on Tuesday night.
The women, who were staying at Indrasan Banquet in Lokanthali of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, Bhaktapur, were driven out by a group of youths at around 10:15 PM Tuesday.
A video released on social media shows a group of youths telling the women to leave the banquet hall when they were preparing to sleep.
“Have you come for the program on the 23rd? Hello sisters,” a youth is heard asking the women.
The youths tell the women to leave the banquet hall in a threatening manner. In reply, the women say, “We’ll go, let us put on clothes.”
The youths then tell the women to phone Prasai and tell him that the Youth Federation threw them out. They are also heard saying that those who have arrived for the demonstration would not be given shelter anywhere in Kathmandu. The women request the youths to let them stay in the banquet hall for the night.
The women had phoned Prasai after they were driven out of the banquet hall. A person claiming to be Prasai’s personal secretary had then phoned the District Police Range, Kathmandu, and sought security.
“He had phoned at night. At first the inspector of Koteshwar searched in and around Jadibuti but nobody was found,” SSP Bhupendra Khatri said. “It turned out that the incident had taken place in Bhaktapur. Later, a police team led by DSP Pawan Bhattarai reached the place where the group of women were staying.”
The banquet venue had already been padlocked when DSP Bhattarai arrived, but the police rescued the women.
“Our team reached there and rescued them. We kept them in the banquet hall overnight. We also deployed police personnel for security,” he said. "They left this morning saying they would go to Gaushala.”
Police said that search was on for the group of youths involved in mistreating the women. DSP Bhattarai said that they had moved further investigation ahead after watching CCTV footage and were also searching for those who posted the video on social media.
“Faces of some youths are seen in the video posted on social media, too. We are inquiring whether they are from the Youth Federation or not,” he said.
DSP Basanta Pathak at the District Police Range, Bhaktapur, also said that search was on for those who drove the women out of the banquet venue.
Youth Federation Chairman Kshitiz Thebe told Setopati that an internal inquiry was on to find out whether the Youth Federation was involved in the incident or not.
He said that he learned about the incident from the police. “So far the Youth Federation does not appear to be involved. That video could have come out on social media to defame us too,” he said.
Thebe claimed that the Youth Federation had no plans of carrying out inhumane and indecent activities. “We will take action if anybody from the Youth Federation is involved in this incident,” he said.
Prasai and the Youth Federation were preparing to hold separate demonstrations at Maitighar Mandala on Thursday. The District Administration Office, Kathmandu, on Monday declared the Maitighar-New Baneshwar area a prohibited zone for 30 days with immediate effect. It has also designated separate venues for the two groups to hold their demonstrations.
The Youth Federation is preparing to hold its demonstration at Tinkune on the administration’s request, and Prasai’s group at Balkhu.