HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
ROLPA: Years after her husband was abducted from the Nepali Army Bhairabnath Battalion and his whereabouts still unknown, tears trickle down from Dil Kumari Gurung’s eyes when she thinks about her bitter fate.
“Instead of wiping our tears and punishing the guilty the government has rewarded them, thus reviving our old wounds,” said Dil Kumari of Korchabang VDC-3, adding, “We have been expecting the government would punish the guilty and make the status of disappeared public, but much to our much surprise it rewarded the guilty.”
During the emergency period, Dil Kumari’s husband Dal Bahadur Gurung, who was then a worker in a brick kiln in Kathmandu, had been taken to the Bhairabnath Battalion from where he was declared ‘disappeared’.
“I went to inquire about his condition time and again, but they would never let me to meet him. Instead, they would tell me that he was in good condition,” she said, adding, though the army had let 15 other perso-ns detained with him after a week, it never freed him.
Her pleas to the International Committee of the Red Cross for help fell on the deaf ears. “If the government wants peace to prevail it should make public the status of the disappeared ones like my husband and punish the guilty,” demanded the mother of two girls, who is eking out her living in the absence of the family bread-winner.
Similar is the case of Dhawang’s Tula Oli. Her husband was made to disappear following his abduction by the former Maoist rebels, has almost lost her hope of seeing her husband again.
“It has been almost seven years since the end of the conflict but since the former rebels are all walking freely in the public they might have murdered him back then itself,” she said, adding, “It is the duty of the government towards its citizens to make public status of the disappeared – we have to get the justice.”
In fact, like Dil Kumari and Tula about 350 single women are living a pathetic life after their husbands were killed or made to disappear during the decade-long conflict. They have accused the government and the political parties of being apathetic towards their plight.
In Rolpa alone, 52 persons have been disappeared during the co-nflict period, most of whom, according to the Human Rights Protection and Legal Service Centre (HRPLSC), are suffering from the trauma of losing their husbands.
“They are compelled to spend their days crying, without knowing for long if their dear ones are alive or already dead,” said Nepal Red Cross Society President Nolsingh Pun Magar.
In Rolpa, the birth place of the Maoist insurgency, 1,017 persons have lost their lives while hundreds of others have been rendered homeless, handicapped and wounded due to the decade-long insurgency.
Most of them are yet to get justice from the state. “It is complete irresponsibility on the part of the political parties as no steps have been taken years after there was an agreement to ma-ke public the disappeared persons within 60 days following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord,” argued CPN-M bureau member Phabindra Acharya.
“The government should soon probe the human rights violations. No one either from the state or from the side of the then rebels should be granted general amnesty if found guilty,” argued Kshitiz, also a retired former Maoist combatant, criticising the government for submitting an ordinance to the President with the provision of amnesty.
Society of the Families of the Disappeared Chairperson Sher Bahadur Budha demanded the government make public soon status of the disappeared persons and take a political decision to provide compensation to the victims.
“Years have gone by since we waited to know the status of our disappeared kin,” he said, wondering how long they had to still wait.
According to the stakeholders of the district, it would be complete injustice to all victims if the state granted general amnesty to the guilty persons on the basis of the mere political agreement without the consent of the conflict victims.
“If the guilty persons are not punished it will create chaos in the nation,” said the victims. They demanded a fair probe of the past criminal acts by forming a truth finding commission on the basis of consensus.
“The decision to deprive the victims of justice and granting amnesty to the gui-lty could again plunge the country into another conflict,” said Madhav Acharya, district chairperson of the Nepal Bar Association.