Rift among TRC members comes to fore

Kathmandu, February 3

A fresh rift has surfaced in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at a time when the transitional justice mechanism is seeking one year extension of its term.

A heated debate occurred on Thursday between TRC members Madhabi Bhatta and Sri Krishna Subedi when the latter made changes to a proposal of term extension, according to sources.

TRC, whose two-year term expires on February 9, was preparing a draft to be forwarded to the Council of Ministers to seek one year term extension.

It’s learnt that Bhatta objected to the changes Subedi made and even alleged that Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung was pampering Subedi and questioned Gurung's ability to effectively handle his role.

Gurung then left the office, saying he would tender his resignation, according to Manchala Jha, another member of TRC.

Gurung has been incommunicado since he left the office yesterday afternoon. "He did not come to office today," said a TRC official.

He didn't even respond to THT's repeated attempts to contact him.

However, he is likely to join office from Sunday, claimed a source. Three other TRC members — Jha, Subedi and Leela Udasi — also didn't turn up at office today. Jha claimed that she was on leave today.

"The TRC has been a failure because of our internal disputes," Jha said.

This is not the first time that Chairman Gurung threatened to quit. Earlier in November, he had threatened to quit from his post if the government failed to make conducive environment for the TRC to function.

Talking to THT, Bhatta said she was concerned about the way Subedi revised the document at the eleventh hour. "Subedi left the meeting after five minutes. For almost four hours, four of us discussed and finalised the proposal for term extension. When he returned after four hours, he started changing the document haphazardly," she claimed. "I said he should have attended the meeting and put forth his points."

Attempts to contact Subedi went in vain.

Bhatta and Subedi are considered close to the Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre, respectively.

Meanwhile, the fresh rift also follows a recent Supreme Court verdict, which had invalidated the TRC's controversial guidelines for putting insurgency-era rights violation cases on hold.

The apex court on Wednesday scrapped the guidelines, stating they were against the provision of TRC laws.

Earlier, while framing the guidelines, Bhatta had written her note of dissent while four other members, including Chairman Gurung and member Subedi, had lobbied hard for endorsing the guidelines despite strong warnings from the victims' and rights defenders.