HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Families of over 3,700 conflict victims have not approached the Relief and Rehabilitation Unit (RRU) to claim compensation despite the government’s extensive media campaign for the same, officials said.
According to latest data collected by the RRU, over 17,882 people were killed during Maoist insurgency. Death toll could go up as the process to compile data is still on, said RRU official Suresh Neupane.
A survey research conducted by the unit in 10 districts revealed that some of the families did not approach for compensation in the concerned districts because they had migrated to other districts.
In some other cases, double mentioning of the conflict victims and mentioning of the nicknames of the victims were also found to be reasons why their family members did not apply for the RRU for compensation.
As an exception, only Managn and Mustand districts have not recorded any conflict related death.
A majority of 3,700 victims whose families have not claimed compensation are from Rukum, Rolpa and Kailali districts that were worst hit by the 10 years Maoist insurgency.
The government has hiked the compensation amount from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 3,00,000 per victim. According to Neupane, the unit has already provided the families of 9,000 victims with Rs 3,00,000 each. Families of another 7,000 victims have received Rs 1,00,000 each.
Jitendra Nath Sharma, who is in-charge of the Reconstruction Division of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction who overseas World Bank funded the Emergency Peace Support Project said they signed an understanding with the bank only last week to extend the project for another two years. He said the government would soon start disbursing compensation amount to those families who had not received compensation amount.
“We have mobilised all the local bodies including local peace committees to do the needful. We want every conflict victim’s families to avail of the relief programmes and hope to meet our target within next two years,” Sharma added.
The government plans to raise the compensation amount from Rs 3,00,000 to Rs 10,00,000 per victim.
RRU officials said they would distribute compensation to the remaining victims in the next fiscal when budgets would be available for the same. The government has also provided additional Rs 25,000 to the war widows.
Besides, the government has also formulated a policy to provide Rs 1,50,000 to the families of those who were killed in post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement violence including the families of Gaur massacre victims.
Human Rights defender Subodh Raj Pyakurel said relief packages for the families of the conflict victims was necessary but ensuring reparation was more necessary. “We can honour the victims by naming parks, schools and other institutes after them and building statue in their names,” he said.
Pyakurel said collecting names of conflict victims was hindered also because some of the Maoist cadres who were accused of killings are in the local committees that help collect the lists of the dead, and therefore, they would never acknowledge the names of those persons whom they might have killed.
“The government seems to be disbursing compensation only to gain sympathy of the victims’ families. Justice is more important that the families still wait,” Pyakurel added.