‘Conflict victims feel justice denied’

Kathmandu, January 22

Almost a decade has passed since the Maoist insurgency came to an end with the signing of the comprehensive peace deal in November 2006. But many conflict-victims still feel that the state has denied them justice.

When a team from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission visited various districts to take stock of the conflict victims’ plight, they demanded stern action against perpetrators of serious human rights violations and heinous crimes.

All five TRC members, including Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung, are now interacting with conflict-victims in various districts affected by the decade long conflict. “Conflict victims want strong action against those involved in cases of serious human rights violations and heinous crimes,” TRC member and Spokesperson Madhabi Bhatta told The Himalayan Times.

Bhatta is currently on a visit to six districts, including Sindhuli and Ramechhap, where she is holding interactions with the victims of the infamous Doramba massacre, where as many as 19 civilians were disappeared and subsequently killed by Nepali Army personnel in 2003.

“If the state fails to book the perpetrators, we would punish them ourselves,” Bhatta quoted a victim, whose father was killed in the Doramba incident.

Victims expressed worry that the TRC could be used as a tool to acquit perpetrators in the name of reconciliation. All districts, excluding Manang and Mustang, were affected by the Maoist insurgency. “So far we have visited or are in the process of visiting some 50 districts. We will hold interactions with them and also visit the remaining districts soon,” said TRC Chairman Gurung, who is now on a visit to Syangja, Gulmi, Arghakhanchi and Palpa.

During these field visits, TRC members have held interactions with government officials, including CDOs, chiefs of security bodies, human rights defenders, civil society and journalists and the conflict victims.

According to Gurung, some victims want to see all rights violations cases settled soon.

Some have opined that the state should provide employment as well as ensure free education up to university level to children of the conflict victims.

The government has so far decided to provide free education up to the higher secondary level for a maximum three children of conflict victims.