Two years compensation in sight

Nepalgunj, December 25:

Today marked the second anniversary of the terror that gripped Nepalgunj which led to the death of a person, loss in business sectors worth millions and a city under seize, leaving a traumatic imprint on the locals for the rest of their lives. Properties worth millions of rupees were damaged but the victims are yet to be compensated.

Following a minor dispute on the day of the Madhes bandh launched by the Sadbhavana Party-Anandidevi on December 25, 2006, the incident turned violently out of proportion the next day which led to the devastation of the city. Nepalgunj was a city under seize with daylight vandalism, looting and arson despite the curfew called on the 26th to control the ominous mob. The curfew continued till December 28.

Some analysts assume the Nepalgunj incident as the first in the series of Madhes agitations while others debate the Lahan episode as the beginning of the Madhes uprising. Whatsoever, Nepalgunj was boiling with terror then. The residents cannot even bear to think about the traumatic incident and wish such incident would never happen in the future. Scores of people were displaced to Dang and Dhangadhi while lots of business had to shut down. Two years have past since the horrific incident yet people have not received compensation from the government, exposing the government’s apathy to their woes.

The bereaved family of Kamal Giri and some businessmen got a meagre amount of compensation. Only Rs three million was sent in the first phase, and nothing was done after that even though the government had assured complete compensation, complained victims.

The then home minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, minister for industry and commerce Hridayesh Tripathy, minister for science and technology Mahantha Thakur, NC acting president Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML leader Amrit Kumar Bohara, Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara all had assured compensation, but those were only words never to be fulfilled.

Dilli Bikram Malla, coordinator of the Victims’ Struggle Committee, formed to press the government for quick actions, said there had been no compensation yet. Malla owns the Nepalgunj based Hungry Hotel which lost thousands of rupees worth of property due to damages.