Kathmandu: Two young women were forcibly stripped and paraded naked in capital city Kathmandu by hooligans, who went on a looting spree in the name of protesting against the recent hike in fuel prices.
"A group of people attacked the restaurant I was working in, dragged me to the road and pulled off my clothes though I begged them to stop," one of the victims told a private television channel. "They tried to rape me," the second victim told the Kantipur television channel.
The incident happened in broad daylight Sunday in the Koteshwor-Gwarko area of Kathmandu, a populated area with a high flow of traffic on normal days. The two women, who were not named, work at a local eatery, Monalisa Restaurant.
IN THE NAME OF PROTEST: Hooligans went on a looting spree in the name of protesting against the fuel hike.
They were dragged from the restaurant by a group of armed young men and paraded naked on the street for nearly an hour without police or bystanders coming to their rescue. "We repeatedly called the police but they did not respond," another restaurant owner told the media.
The capital and outer districts have been shaken by violent protests for two days after the government announced a hefty hike in fuel prices.
Shaken by the mob fury during the weekend, the government revoked the 11 to 25 percent hike in fuel prices.
The protests in the capital were apparently infiltrated by anti-social elements that went on a rampage in the Koteshwor-Gwarko area, attacking restaurants and vandalising their property.
At least 25 restaurants were attacked, resulting in a loss of about NRS 6 million (about $80,000).
Though the looting occurred Sunday, they were reported only on Monday night after the Nepal Restaurant Entrepreneurs' Association and the local media brought it to public notice.
The fallout continued even on Monday after a teenager died of severe beating. The restaurants in the area remained closed Monday in protest, while angry residents blocked the main road in the afternoon.
Reports Tuesday said five of the vandals had been caught by the residents and handed over to the police after a severe thrashing.
The violence marks the growing incidence of lawlessness in Nepal. After mass protests for 19 continuous days ended in the fall of King Gyanendra's regime and a seven-party government being installed, violent protests have been erupting frequently over trivial issues, with mobs blocking roads and going on a rampaging spree.
Kantipur television estimated that there have been at least 20 such protests that degenerated into anarchy.
The attack on the two women comes even as Nepal's parliament has been recommending special rights for women, who comprise over 50 percent of the 27 million population.
Earlier this year, at least three similar cases have been reported from southern Nepal.
While one woman was paraded naked and gangraped for her son's affair with a girl from another caste, two other women were stripped and abused on the suspicion of being witches.