Naar massacre: No action against herb pluckers’ killers

GORKHA: District based human rights activists and members of the civil society are concerned that the government has been indifferent to provide compensation to the families of the seven youths of Kerauja of Gorkha who were killed in the Naar massacre in Manang district.

Neither has any effort been made to search the bodies nor have the culprits been brought to book, human right activists said.

The Naar locals had killed the youths of Kerauja of Gorkha who had gone to collect yarshagumba there on June 10.

Thaneshwor Dawadi, district member of the Human Rights and Peace Society said the guilty had to be brought to book. The government should provide relief to the victims and take action against the culprits, he added.

Dawadi, who is also an advocate, said, “The government should take the responsibility of providing relief to the family of victims and endure education for their children.”

Rishi Khanal, district chairman of the Human Rights Network, said, “The government should not delay action in such cases,” he said.

“Though locals have a right to protect local resources and property as per the ILO Convention 169, it is a crime to kill anyone who violates the convention,” INSEC district representative Bhim Lal Shrestha said.

“We are drawing the attention of the local administration to take action against the guilty,” Jagan Singh Gurung, chairman of district chapter of Tamu Chhoj Dhi said, adding, “We had reported the incident to the CDO and home ministry immediately after it occurred.”

District chapter of the Tamu Mukti Morcha Joint Struggle Committee, in a press release, condemned the government for its indifference in the case.

The committee said though the Annapurna Conservation Area Project had assured one lakh rupees each to the families of those killed in the massacre, it provided only Rs 20,000 per family. The committee has threatened to launch an agitation if the relief was not provided as per the agreement.

“The Gorkha DDC provided the relief of Rs 25,000 each to the families of youth killed in the massacre,” Gorkha CDO Jivan Prasad Oli said.

Manang locals have also demanded legal action against the guilty. The police, on the other hand, is likely to file a case against 38 persons, including chairman of Naar Conservation Management Committee, and former chairman of Naar VDC.

Manang locals claim that such incidents had occurred in the past as well. They add that Naar Massacre would not have occurred had action been taken in the earlier incidents.

Tek Bahadur Gurung, former vice-chairman of Manang Sewa Samiti, said the police, administration, ACAP and local conservation committee are squarely responsible for the massacre. “Had these organisations done their bit in the past, the Naar massacre could have been avoided,”

he said. Gyalpo Gurung

of Humde Welfare Society echoed the concern.

Manang CDO Ramraj Subedi said legal action would be taken against the guilty.

In the past, a youth of Gorkha was injured when locals of

Gyaru VDC attacked him

while he was collecting yarshagumba six years ago.

Pemba Sange Lama, former chairman of Naar VDC, was killed when he tied to dissuade the youths from collecting the medicinal herb in Namkyakharka two years ago. Rame Chepang, the main accused in the incident, is still at large.

“To prevent such incidents, people of other districts were prevented to collect yarshagumba from Manang,” Govinda Shahi, a staffer at Manang DAO, said, adding, permission was given to collect the herb to people of other districts after locals of Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Chitwan and Lamjung districts gheraoed DAO, district police office and ACAP demanding permission to pluck the herb.

A conservation committee formed by ACAP has been distributing receipts to the people of other districts to collect yarshagumba from Manang. However, they are allowed to gather herb only from Naar and Phu VDCs.