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Tihar begins, Kaag Tihar being observed today

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KATHMANDU- Tihar, the second largest festival of Nepali Hindus is beginning from today. Also known as Yam Panchak, the festival is observed for five days.

The first day of Yam Panchak is observed as Kaag Tihar by feeding crows, regarded as messengers in Nepali society.
The second day is Kukur Tihar — the day is observed worshipping dogs. The third day is Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja worshipping cows and Laxmi, the goddess of wealth.

The fourth day of Tihar is known as Goru Puja — worship of oxen, while the fifth and the final day is Bhai Tika — the day when brothers receive Tika from their sisters.

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However, people from the Newari community celebrate the fourth day of Yam Panchak as Maha Puja — worship of own soul. The auspicious hour for Bhai Tika this year is 11:55 am on November 9, according to the Nepal Calendar Fixation Committee.

Tihar is also known as the festival of lights. During the festival, people decorate their houses with colorful lights, flowers and oil lamps. They celebrate the festival eating various delicacies, including sweets and sel roti.

Playing deusi-bhailo and worshipping various animals and birds are significant aspects of this festival. The government has announced a three-day public holiday starting from Laxmi Puja to Bhai Tika from November 7 to 9.

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About 7,029 girls, women rescued from traffickers in five years

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KATHMANDU—A total of 7,029 women and children were rescued from border by Nepal Police in the past five years.

They were rescued from Jhapa, Ilam, Morang, Udaypur, Sankhuwasabha, Parsa, Sarlahi, Mohottari, Siraha, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Sindhuli, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Gulmi, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Jumla, Kailali and Kanchanpur while being trafficked. Out of those rescued, 3,896 were under the age of 18 years.

According to Nepal Police Spokesperson and Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi, Nepali women and girls are vulnerable to trafficking due to the porous border with India.

Januka Dhakal, vice-chair of Samaj Utthan Mahila Manch, an organisation which has been working to prevent trafficking of girls and women, said lack of awareness and poverty made women and girls more vulnerable to trafficking. The traffickers target such women and girls with the promise of lucrative jobs in foreign countries.

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Most of such women end up in brothels in India.

Girls and women are trafficked mainly for prostitution, sex slavery and forced labour.
Nepal’s anti-trafficking law stipulates 20-year jail sentence and a fine up to Rs 200,000 for anyone found guilty of human trafficking.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has approved a proposal submitted by Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal seeking establishment of Human Trafficking Bureau and Cyber Bureau.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated budget for setting up the two bureaus. Nepal Police hopes that it will be easier to prevent trafficking of girls and women after the bureaus are set up.

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