No joy for kin of disappeared

Itahari, October 23:

When people were celebrating Dashain with much fanfare, the relatives of those disappeared during the armed conflict were anxiously awaiting any news about their lost kin.

Family of Hari Bahadur Magar from Mahendranagar of Sunsari, who was allegedly disappeared by the state in 2004, was a sad lot this Dashain. “It has been more than four years that he went missing,” Magar’s wife Harimaya said, adding: “We don’t know whether he is alive or not. How can I celebrate Dashain in such a situation?”

“Festivals bring memory of my husband and the children ask about their father. The state should make public his whereabouts,” she said. Uttam Limbu’s family from the same place shares the same plight. Security forces took away Limbu and Magar on the same day accusing them of being Maoists.

“There will be no Dashain for us until we know the whereabouts of my son,” Uttam’s

father said.

Same is the fate of two other families in Sundarpur of Morang. Their kin were killed on the charge of being Maoists.

There is nothing for us to celebrate, say the widows of Paltan Singh Rai and Tanka Thapa. “Memories of days spent with them haunt us,” Paltan Singh’s widow Asha said. “My husband was never a Maoist. There can be no cause for celebration until those responsible for his death are punished.”

A civil investigation committee formed a few days ago pointed out local Maoist leader Bhagirath Neupane’s hand in Rai and Thapa’s murder. Tanka Thapa’s father, Dambar Singh, said: “When my only child was killed, how can I celebrate Dashain?”