Nepal | May 21, 2019

Victims implicate top Maoist, govt leaders


Lekhanath Pandey

Kathmandu, June 17

Top government and security officials as well as the Maoist leadership have been implicated in incidents of serious rights violation during the Maoist insurgency.

Conflict victims have charged and held them responsible for insurgency era atrocities.

More than 40,000 complaints were lodged at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission till yesterday and 2,451 testimonies were registered at the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons by the victims.

Both the transitional justice bodies have started preliminary investigation of registered complaints.

Around 70 to 75 per cent of  complaints received by the TRC and CIEDP have been lodged against the state.

“In mass level atrocities, committed either by the state or the Maoists — their leaderships have been held responsible,” TRC member Madhabi Bhatta told The Himalayan Times. “In most individual cases such as extra-judicial killings, torture, enforced disappearance, seizure of property etc, the concerned people or security personnel involved in such crimes have been implicated.”

Victims have demanded action against figures, including former king Gyanendra and former prime ministers Sher Bahadur Deuba and Lokendra Bahadur Chand for war-era atrocities committed by the state.

For example, victims of Kotbada, Kalikot have sought action against then PM Deuba, and Nepali Army’s local and central leadership, said sources.

Seventeen youths from Jogimara, Dhading, who were working as contract labourers to build a runaway in Kotbada were killed by the army in February 2002.

Likewise, the Maoist leadership, including Pushpa Kamal Dahal and ideologue Baburam Bhattarai were implicated in heinous war-era crimes committed by the Maoist side, said sources.

These include the infamous Madi massacre where 38 innocent civilians were killed and 75 were injured when Maoist rebels ambushed an overcrowded bus in Bandarmude of Madi, Chitwan, on June 6, 2005.

Likewise, former king Gyanendra Shah, who was supreme commander-in-chief of the Nepali Army and the then Nepali Army leadership have been implicated in the Doramba massacre, where 19 suspected Maoists, including five women, were shot dead after being arrested by NA soldiers in Doramba, Ramechhap in August 2003.

With such high profile figures being dragged into war-era cases, many are sceptical the transitional justice mechanism can conduct thorough investigation and provide justice to victims.

CIEDP Spokesperson Bishnu Pathak confirmed that former top officials, including former prime ministers, home and defence ministers, chiefs of security agencies and Maoist leaders and commanders had been implicated by the victims.

TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung said complaints were lodged against senior political and government figures, but he said it wasn’t clear what charges were filed against whom and this situation would remain until all the files were opened for investigation.

“As this is a sensitive issue, we can’t say what charges were lodged against whom,” he added.

Chiefs and top echelon of Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police have also been implicated. These security agencies were deployed under an integrated command and control system in the later phase to counter the insurgency.

The victims have mentioned names and addresses of those allegedly involved in war-era crimes in many individual cases. In cases where the perpetrators were unidentified, the in-charge of local security forces or Maoist cadres have been implicated.

A version of this article appears in print on June 19, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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