Activists flay govt’s ‘apathy’ towards Maoist victims

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 11:

Human rights activists today criticised the government for being irresponsible and insensitive to the plight of the internally displaced Maoist victims who have been staying in the capital from the past three months. “The world knows that thousands of families in Nepal are displaced due to Maoist activities and are looking for support from the government. But they are being terrorised and attacked by the state,” said Kapil Shrestha, a human rights activist and former member of National Human Rights Commission today, addressing an interaction.

He said that the UN Guidelines for Internal Refugees clearly indicates that it is the government’s responsibility to provide food, shelter, education and employment to such internal refugees, adding, the government’s perspective on them is just the opposite. “The way the government is dealing with the Maoist victims has shown that there is a total lack of policy, sensitivity and responsibility on the part of the government,” he said. According to him, the government should either support the Maoist victims or, if it lacks resources, should seek support from agencies like the UN.

Baburam Giri, the general secretary to Nepal Human Rights Organisation (NHRO), said the government has refused to acknowledge and support the internally displaced people. A delegation from NHRO had visited the Home Ministry yesterday to appraise their plight. Giri said: “The Home Ministry bluntly said that all the internally displaced people are politically motivated and have come to the capital for opportunities.” Home secretary Chandi Shrestha said the Maoist victims, who have been staging protests, go and sleep in their homes at night and wake up the next day and again launch protests against the government, Giri said, adding, the government has no resources to feed them. The Maoist victims have been camping at the Open Air Theatre at Tundikhel for the past three months before they were detained at Bhaktapur.