Nepal | July 16, 2019

EDITORIAL: Poetic justice

The Himalayan Times

The district court verdict is a testimony that nobody can escape justice after committing heinous crimes in the name of politics

August 24, 2015 was a sad day in the country’s history. Eight police personnel, including an SSP and a two-year-old boy, were brutally killed after an agitating mob took them under control and attacked them with domestic weapons in Kailali’s Tikapur, in what is infamously known as the Tikapur carnage. The massacre of the unarmed police personnel – who had reached out to the mob to pacify it – had taken place one month before the second Constituent Assembly adopted the new constitution in September 2015 with more than a two-thirds majority. The agitation was called by those groups or organisations that were demanding a separate Tharuhat province. After four years of hearing, the Kailali District Court on Wednesday passed its verdict, sentencing Resham Chaudhary, a Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) lawmaker and one of the main accused in the massacre, to life in prison. Ten others accused have also been slapped life sentences for their direct involvement in the brutal killings of the policemen and the boy. The first deed of inquiry, launched by the police shortly after the carnage, had by tracking his mobile proved that it was Chaudhary who had given orders to his supporters to attack the policemen from the nearby crime scene.

The kin and kith of the fallen victims have welcomed the verdict and said justice has been done. The supporters of the accused have, however, cried foul at the verdict. The RJP-N leadership, which conspicuously withdrew its support to the government shortly after the verdict, has termed it “shocking”. Chaudhary had contested the parliamentary election from Kailali Constituency-1 and also won in absentia with a huge margin of votes. But he could not take part in the House proceedings because of the murder case pending in the district court. He, however, was sworn in as lawmaker on January 3, a year after surrendering to the district court. But he was taken back to prison until the court could pass its verdict on the case. His status as lawmaker will remain suspended until he is acquitted by the higher courts. Cases against 31 other defendants, who are still absconding, have been put on hold. The Kailali District Police Office had filed cases against 58 persons on charges of murder and attempted murder.

This verdict also rightly serves as a deterrent to other would-be offenders. One act of violence breeds another form of violence. Such acts carried out by some miscreants to serve their vested interest do not bode well for the society and the nation. In a democratic system, all political problems can be resolved through peaceful dialogue. Violence only gives birth to a culture of impunity, hindering the common people from raising their voices for a peaceful solution to any grievance they may have. Giving political patronage to a person with a criminal background will only add fuel to the fire and promote a culture of impunity and criminalisation of politics. It was a grave mistake of the House secretariat to swear in a person who was facing trial for murder. This verdict is a testimony that nobody can escape justice after committing a crime. What is also equally important is that the State must not grant amnesty to anyone found guilty of premeditated crimes, like the Tikapur carnage.

Uterine prolapse

Uterine prolapse is a serious health problem in Nepal, with more than half a million women living with it. Unlike in other countries where uterine prolapse is prevalent more in post-menopausal women, in Nepal’s case it is quite common in younger women, both in the hills and Tarai. A study conducted among 45,000 married women in nine Tarai districts has shown that 26 per cent of them were suffering from uterine prolapse, a case where the uterus protrudes into the vagina when the supporting tissues weaken. Early marriage, hard work after child birth, poor nutrition and unattended home delivery are some of the reasons causing uterine prolapse.

Since the Supreme Court declared uterine prolapse as a human rights issue in 2008, the government has shown its commitment to treat it. Free health camps are set up in different parts of the country, especially in the rural areas, where the focus is on surgery, or hysterectomy. While the operation has benefitted many, there are also complaints about post-surgery complications. Doctors say instead of surgery, the treatment should focus on prevention or low-cost, home-based alternatives that a midwife in a rural setting can easily attend to.


A version of this article appears in print on March 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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