Dhankuta, November 16
Sixty-year-old Bharjana Darji could not stop her tears when she recounted the four decade old incident that robbed her of her husband for going against the then Panchayat regime.
Though she is gradually coming to terms with the loss after all these years, annual programmes held in his memory and that of other martyrs from the district, and hollow assurances by the government only serve to remind her of the loss.
“The country has undergone a drastic change since the fall of the Panchayat regime. We experienced democracy and are now a federal republic nation, which is perhaps the best polity we’ve dreamt of, but it’s sad to know that even after these many years, martyrs’ families are left in the lurch. Hollow assurances given by the government have only served to rub salt to the wounds,” bemoaned Darji. “Who can understand our pain and suffering of having to lose a bread winner and a guardian?” she asked.
Dil Bahadur Rai, who also lost his father Bhairablal in the same incident, also lamented the suffering they have been facing ever since the loss of his father. “It has really been difficult to survive in the village amidst poverty and lot of other problems ever since my father was shot dead,” he said.
Families of the 16 persons of former Khoku, Chhintang and Ankisalla village development committees of Dhankuta, who were murdered by the then Panchayati rulers in November, 1979, have accused the state and the subsequent governments of ditching them.
Though the government commemorates the incident, popularly known as Chintang Kanda, by holding a programme in Chintang every year, the martyrs’ families are not happy over the state’s treatment towards them.
According to the Martyrs’ Families Protection Committee Chhintang Chairperson Balaram Rai, who is also a son of one of those murdered in the Chhintang incident, they have received Rs 125,000 per family from the government so far.
“Besides this, each family got 5,000 rupees from the then district development committee to buy goats.
“But we haven’t got anything of the one million rupees that the state had pledged to each of the martyrs’ families about two years ago,” Rai complained.
Hasta Bahadur Rai, son of the only Chhintang female martyr Ram Kumari Rai, said he felt that his mother had shed her blood for nothing. “My mother and many other people sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country, but there is no value of the sacrifice,” he said.
Speaking on the 41st Memorial Day yesterday, Province 1 Chief Minister Sherdhan Rai pledged to provide Rs 500,000 each to the family of the Chhintang martyrs’ on behalf of his government.
The programme was organised by the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) in Chhintang’s Panchakanya Danda yesterday. This year too, a public holiday was declared on Friday to mark the occasion.
A version of this article appears in print on November 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.