Families of Maleth victims want jobs, education

Maleth, November 30

Kin of Maleth incident victims want political parties and their candidates to ensure jobs and education to the victims’ families.

In March this year, five people, including Sanjan Mehta, Pitambar Mandal and Birendra Mahto, were killed in Maleth of Rajbiraj Municipality-9 when police fired shots at protesters. The martyrs’ family have also demanded probe into the incident.

The police had, however, said they fired shots to tame a violent mob which was menacingly racing toward the UML’s programme.

Dropadi Devi Mahto, mother-in-law of Birendra Mahto said she and her daughter were facing economic hardship after losing the only bread winner in the family. “My husband died when my daughter was two years old. I had brought my son-in-law to my house to look after me but I lost him,” she lamented.

She has to raise four kids, between four and nine years of age. “How can I raise four kids?” she asked, her voice choking. Dropadi Devi said it would be a great help if anybody provided her daughter a job. She said her four children’s education was being taken care of by a local educationist Dilip Karna. “One American organisation came and donated Rs 25,000. It said it would help find foster parents for my grand children,” she added.

Gosain Mandal, 85, lost his family’s bread-earning son Pitambar Mandal in the Maleth incident. The family has been facing all kinds of hardships. “My grandson dropped out of school to help the family earn two meals a day,” he said.

Father of Sanjay Mehta Laxman said Sanjay’s widow took one million rupees ex gratia payment provided by the government and left the family. “I am 73 and now sell betel leaves to make ends meet. The government should take care of my family. I struggle to pay for my younger son’s college education,” he said and added that Maleth incident should be probed and guilty police personnel should be punished.

Bhupendra Yadav, an elected member of Ward No 9 in Rajbiraj Municipality, also a resident of Maleth, said police committed brutality on March 6 and this should be probed. “Why has the government not probed the incident thoroughly even after almost a year?” he wondered.

Lakhi Ram Mahto, another resident of Maleth, said the police resorted to lethal force without firing warning shots or water cannon and that should be thoroughly probed. “Ex-gratia payment of one million rupees is nothing given the sufferings faced by the victims’ families. The government should ensure jobs and education for the victims’ families,” he added.

Maleth residents said the CPN-UML leaders had not gone to the victims’ houses to comfort the families. Another Maleth resident Upendra Prasad Yadav said the big three parties and the government was not sincere in addressing the Madhes issues. “Big three parties address the demands of protesters when they protest for two days but they ignore Madhesis even when Madhesis protest for six months,” he said and added that he was a district committee member of the CPN-MC but was not happy with his own party. “The big three parties gave empty assurances to Madhesis.  To form their government they muster majority but to amend the constitution they did not muster two-thirds majority,” he added. Yadav said Madhesis had no option but to protest until their demands were met.