CVCP decries amnesty for Dhungel

Kathmandu, June 8

Victims of the decade-long Maoist insurgency today staged a sit-in in front of the National Human Rights Commission, demanding that the commission come up with its official position regarding the presidential pardon for murder convict and leader of the erstwhile CPN-Maoist Centre Bal Krishna Dhungel.

Dhungel, along with 816 other prisoners from across the country, was released on May 29 on the recommendation of the government for their ‘good conduct’ on occasion of 11th Republic Day.

Dhungel was doing time in Sadar Khor (Central Prison) at Dilli Bazaar. He was sentenced to life for the murder of Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Okhaldhunga during the conflict. The 45-strong protestors criticised the NHRC for its failure to come up with an official position even more than a week after Dhungel’s release.

“NHRC commissioners said they needed to study the issue first before coming up with an official position, but I do not understand what type of study they need to conduct,” said Conflict Victims Common Platform Chairman Suman Adhikari. The conflict victims also demanded proactive role of the NHRC in ending the fresh hunger strike launched by Ganga Maya Adhikari.

Adhikari of Fujel, Gorkha, launched a fast-unto-death at Bir Hospital on May 29, demanding the arrest of those guilty of her son Krishna Prasad’s murder. She has said she will continue her hunger strike until Chhabilal Poudel, his son Parshuram Poudel and nephew Bhimsen Poudel, Ram Prasad Adhikari and Januka Poudel, who have been accused of murdering Krishna Prasad during the Maoist insurgency on June 6, 2004, were arrested.

CVCP Chair Adhikari said earlier the NHRC used to play a proactive role by even calling the Inspector General of Police and the home minister, but it had largely kept mum this time around, apart from issuing a statement. “When will the NHRC act, after Ganga Maya loses her life?” he questioned.

During today’s protest, the conflict victims also raised the issue of the NHRC’s ‘ineffective’ role in making responsible two transitional justice bodies — the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — set up to investigate war-era human rights violations and recommend action against those found guilty.

Even three years after their formation, the commissions have failed to fully investigate even a single complaint due to various reasons such as their own internal weaknesses, and the government’s failure to provide adequate human and financial resources and amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 in line with the Supreme Court verdict.

Attorney General Agni Kharel said the act amendment process was moving ahead.