Missing link

Going by past records, only half-hearted efforts were made to unearth those who have been made to disappear. The Maoists, even after coming to power and giving repeated assurances that they would make the whereabouts of the disappeared known, have failed to deliver. Activists of the Maoist Victims’ Association have maintained sustained protest programmes in order to coerce the Maoists to find the victims. The Maoists for their part do not seem to be taking the matter up seriously as promised. To cover up for the serious lapses, the government authorities are found buying time sometimes by providing misleading information and in other instances even disclaiming responsibility. This has only added to the agony of the near and dear ones of the victims who have tried virtually everything so that they would procure information about those who have been made to disappear or are missing. One can understand their predicament and sympathize with them. Those in the government from time to time say that they are doing all they can to search for the victims, and they would make their status known as soon as they can, but the fact is that searches, if any, are taking place at a pace which leaves much to be desired.

Now it has come as shocking news that the apex court has managed to find two activists of the Maoists Victims’ Association who had been actively involved in protesting against the atrocities of the Maoists and were made to disappear from the capital. The Supreme Court initiated a search and the two were found in detention in the police office in Pyuthan. Apparently, the two had been arrested, ostensibly for their involvement in the recent attack on the Syaulibang police post. Responsible government authorities had earlier denied having them in detention. This must be now come as an embarrassment to them, also showing the extent they go to cover up their misdoings. They had claimed that there was no reason to arrest the two and had asked the apex court order to quash the habeas corpus petition against them. That those who are party to this and other such atrocities are able to do so with virtual impunity is all the more vexing. This exposure should compel the erring party to amend ways and to act in conformity with the norms as stipulated by the laws of the land.

Immediately in the aftermath of the Maoists being put to power about six months ago, one of the priorities of the government was to make the whereabouts of those who were made to disappear or gone missing with heightened urgency. However, we have yet to see this being implemented with only the status of a few of the thousands who have been victims made public. The government should expedite all possible measures to carry out the necessary investigations and searches by taking recourse to the government machinery and related bodies to provide justice to those who have suffered. The high-handed behaviour of some of those in the government, as shown by the arbitrary arrests as those of the two reported missing, shows the necessity of the higher-ups to own up responsibility and at the same time see to it that such incidents are not repeated in the future.