Nepal | October 23, 2020

15 yrs on, Bandarmudhe blast victims still await justice

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Fifteen years have passed since the infamous Bandarmudhe bomb blast, but the victims of the incident are still awaiting justice.

The bomb blast carried out by the then rebelling CPN Maoist on a passenger bus at Madi of southern Chitwan had taken the lives of 38 people, leaving 72 injured exactly on this day 15 years ago.

While seven of the injured have already died, remaining victims are living with physical disabilities and mental trauma. Bandarmudhe Incident Victim Struggle Committee vice-chair Krishna Adhikari said nothing had happened in all these years.

“There were agreements for compensation and relief in the past, but none of them were implemented. Even the then rebel leader Pushpa Kamla Dahal (Prachanda) had called the incident unfortunate and pledged to reach out to the victims to apologise in the right time, but to no avail,” Adhikari lamented.

Madi falls under Chitwan Electoral Constituency-3, from where Dahal, has been elected as a member of the Parliament and holds the position of the ruling party Nepal Communist Party (NCP) co-chair now, and the town has the then Maoist party leader Thakur Dhakal as its mayor.

“Prior to the election, he (Dahal) had an agreement with a few of the victims’ representatives to provide employment, free education and treatment expenses, among other facilities to the victims’ and their families, but nothing of that deal too has been materialised so far,” Adhikari said.

“As the incident was a heinous crime against the humanity, we want action against the guilty and justice to the victims’ families more than anything else,” Adhikari clarified.

Madi Municipality Mayor Dhakal, however, refuted the claims that the victims had not been given any compensation.

“Distribution of compensation amount and construction of a park at the incident site has started. Last year alone, 25 victims were provided Rs 100,000 in compensation.

This year we’ve allocated Rs 3.5 million for the same purpose,” he said.

“As for the children of the blast victim, the municipality will provide them free education up to Grade XII,” he said, adding that the detailed project report of the proposed park estimated to cost around 120 million rupees had already been completed.

Today, to mark the 15th anniversary of the marking the tragic incident, injured of the incident and the kin of the deceased offered flowers at a memorial site built on the banks of Bandarmudhe Khola as part of an informal programme. They also observed a minute-long silence and lit lights in memory of the deceased.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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