Slain journalist Birendra Shah cremated, kin in grief

Bara, November 9:

Journalist Birendra Shah, who was kidnapped by the Maoists last month and murdered the same day, was cremated according to Hindu rites today.

His last rites were performed in his ancestral village Inarwasira. His eight-year-old son Vivek lit the funeral pyre.

Federation of Nepalese Journalists vice-chairman Shiv Gaunle, general secretary Mahendra Bista, treasurer Hemant Kafle, central members Ramesh Bista, Purna Basnet, Raju Silwal, Surya Thapa, and Ramji Dahal were among those who attended the funeral.

Press Chautari Nepal central president Balkrishna Chapagain, vice-president Ganesh Basnet, vice-president of the Chautari’s central region Mahesh Das, general secretary Gagan Bista, secretary Bhimsen Rajbahak, central member Devraj Rimal, Kathmandu valley in-charge Devraj Aryal, Chitwan president Hari Pokhrel attended the funeral.

Press Council members Dipendra Chauahan, and FNJ members from Bara and Parsa also attended. Cadres and leaders of the CPN-UML, Nepali Congress, Nepal Sadbhawanma Party and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum also paid tributes to Shah.

Thousands of locals turned up to pay last tributes to the slain journalist whose body was placed on a truck and taken around the city before cremation.

Tihar is the festival of lights, happiness and joy but Shah’s house is enveloped in darkness. Shah’s widow Umarawati Devi is getting fainting fits every now and then. “My husband laid down his life for the country. What did the country give him?” said the widow.

Shah’s mother said in a choked tone: “What was the fault of my son?” All of them are thinking of the future of the slain journalist’s son and daughter. Shah’s aged father, Deven Shah, who is 75 years old is numb with grief. He has not even been able to weep.

Co-editor of Today Saptahik Rakesh Pandey said: “This day everyone is busy lighting lamps and celebrating, but journalists in Bara and all over the country are mourning Shah’s death.”

Meanwhile, a report from Birgunj said chairman of Narayani FM Bijay Sarawagi today announced to provide an assistance of Rs 5,000 to Shah’s family. He said any individual or organisation willing to assist Shah’s family could send the assistance through Narayan FM.

An RSS report from Kathmandu said the National Communication Development Centre has condemned Shah’s killing.