Incidents of gruesome murders are on the rise following the Maoist insurgency, which has made society insensitive to crimes
The entire nation and especially the people of Milkajong Rural Municipality in Taplejung are now shell-shocked following the gruesome murder of nine people of two families Tuesday night in remote and isolated Arubote village, which lies about 80 kilometres from the district headquarters of Phidim. The Nepal Police have cordoned off the two houses, where a person – Man Bahadur Makhim – allegedly hacked nine people of the two families to death. Police said Makhim committed suicide by hanging near his home at Limba, Milkhajong-7, about two hours’ walk from the incident site, the same night. Narendra Kunwar of the District Police Office said four members of Bam Kumar Phiyak and five members of his son-in-law Dhanraj Serma’s family were hacked to death. The suspect, according to the police and the locals, used a khukuri to kill all nine persons in a brutal manner. Both the houses are located about one kilometre away from one another. Sita Serma, 12, the granddaughter of Bam Kumar Phiyak, 71, who was also killed in the attacks, however, managed to escape. Sita, who is in a semi-conscious state, is undergoing medical treatment at Damak-based LifeLine Hospital. She was able to save her life after taking shelter at her neighbour’s house. Police found the bodies of all nine people lying in pools of blood.
The police should have little difficulty uncovering the truth behind the brutal murder of the two family members. A prima facie evidence, according to the locals, shows that the mass murder could be related to a divorce issue with Man Bahadur’s wife, Man Kumari, 31, who was also killed. Man Kumari had been staying at her parental home for the last three years following frequent disputes with her husband, who was seeking a divorce with her. The police are trying to establish whether the suspect (Man Bahadur) committed the crime on his own or also took help from others. All police stations in the neighbouring districts of Ilam, Dhankuta, Taplejung, Jhapa and Morang have been kept on high alert to nab other suspects, if there are any. The Nepal Police is also coordinating with the authorities in the Indian State of Sikkim, which borders Panchthar.
Gruesome murders and abduction cases have been on the rise across the country, especially after the decade-long Maoist insurgency, which promoted a culture of intolerance, revenge and personal vendetta in society to settle personal and financial scores. This incident is also a testimony that the society is increasingly becoming more and more intolerant and insensitive to crime, which used to be quite rare in a relatively peaceful rural setting. As the incident has already occurred, the main task of the police will be to pinpoint the culprit(s) and the motive behind it. Another challenging task for the government is to take care of the girl, now orphaned and without a breadwinner. Following this shocking incident, she will need not only psychological counselling for many years to come, but also support for her well-being, education and guardianship from the government until she grows up. The local government and society also need to protect the property she will inherit from her parents. Protecting an orphan is the primary duty of the government.
Dust out Kathmandu
The growing number of dust allergy cases in Kathmandu should come as no surprise to anyone. Everyone is complaining of dust everywhere, if only the concerned authorities were to listen and act. Patients with dust allergy suffer from respiratory problems such as rhinitis, sinusitis and pharyngitis. Itching and redness of the skin are also common. As a valley, Kathmandu’s bowl- shaped structure makes the case of air pollution all the more serious, especially in winter, when the pollutants and dust get trapped, condense and settle down, leading to severe respiratory complications among the inhabitants.
Kathmandu’s air pollution is largely created by poorly-maintained vehicles spewing smoke, incomplete construction work, especially roads, and the numerous brick kilns dotting the landscape. Kathmandu’s streets carry more vehicles than they are meant for, and they lead to excessive emissions. Paying attention to just some of these issues would bring down the air pollution level drastically, as is noticed on holidays. Unless serious concern is shown by the authorities to curb air pollution in the valley, it makes little sense to enlarge the health budget only. People’s health apart, it also impacts Nepal’s tourism.
A version of this article appears in print on May 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.