TRC receives complaint against Deuba, Katawal

DHADING: Family members of 17 labourers who were killed in a military action around 15 years ago filed a complaint at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) against the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and the then senior Royal Nepal Army official Rookmangud Katawal.

The current Nepali Congress President was also taking the charge of the Ministry of Defence in his government then.

Likewise, Katawal, who later ascended to the position of the Chief of Army Staff, was stationed at the Nepal Army Mid-Western Regional Headquarters while the labourers were killed in Kotwada of Kalikot district on February 23, 2002.

The labourers from Jogimara and Dhusha villages of Dhading district were working for the under-construction Kotwada Airport when they were killed over suspicious of being Maoist combatants.

Total 35 workers were killed in the widely known Mission Kotwada.

Family members of 17 victims on Thursday filed the complaint against Deuba, Katawal and the then Chief District Officer among others, at the Local Peace Committee, assigned to register complaints on human rights violations during the armed conflict in the district.

Govinda Chepang of Jogimara-5 said he filed the joint complaint at the Peace Committee. The Committee, however, denied to officially comment on the names mentioned in the complaints among other details.

Various national and international human rights bodies had criticised the government and the army for the Kotwada attack claiming the victims were innocent civilians, that too from the poor working families.

The government formed after beginning of the peace process in 2006 had decided to provide a compensation of Rs 1 million to family of each victim.

A Local Peace Committee officer Menuka Adhikari said the Committee received total 52 complaints for the TRC and six for the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP).