THT 10 YEARS AGO: Mystery illness still stalks Nuwakot school

Nuwakot, December 29, 2005

Mystery still shrouds a disease that has been stalking the Shakti Secondary School at Madanpur in Nuwakot for a month now and which has affected 16 students so far. The disease, the signs of which appeared for the first time in the school has now reached the pupils’ homes and baffled health workers in the district. Sixteen students have fallen victim to it, said chairman of the school management committee, Kul Prasad Sharma. Usha Pathak of grade V had lost consciousness after she complained of stomach and headache on November 27. Since then there has been no let-up in pupils falling unconscious there. According to the headmaster of the school, Hira Ram Pandey, the students first complain of stomach ache and then drink a lot of water, pull their hairs and faint. They come round after about three hours. What is so mysterious about the incident is that only students of grade V have been experiencing this problem in a school with 650 students. Many locals believe that the students are possessed. Shamans are taking care of the victims as health workers seem to have not the faintest idea what exactly is going on. Pandey quoted a student, Gopi, as saying during his treatment that they have been possessed.

17 students hurt in police baton-charge

Kathmandu, December 29, 2005

Seventeen students and a teacher were injured when police baton-charged protesting students on the premises of the Balmeeki Bidyapeeth at Exhibition Road today. The students were protesting against the arrest of three student leaders in the morning when police intervened. According to the students, some of them fainted after they were locked up in a room and tear gas shells fired in there. The asphyxiated students were rushed to the nearby Kathmandu Model Hospital. “I was studying in a classroom when three policemen entered and took me out of the room. My teacher was thrashed up when he intervened,” said Shekhar Dahal, a student at the Bidyapeeth, who is undergoing treatment at the hospital. Other injured students included Narayan Regmi, Meghnath Acharya, Laba Poudel, Tej Narayan Sapkota, Ram Nath Adhikary, Umesh Adhikary, Surya Prasad Aryal and Karna Raj Pandey, among others. Teacher Lal Mani Kafle and an employee at the campus Tak Raj Poudel were also injured in the scuffle. Most of the students sustained fractures in their legs. Student organisations have locked the Campus administration pressing for their 7-point charter of demands for the past 29 days. They said the administration has played a ‘dirty trick’ by arresting students who went to hold talks with the administration to sort out the problems. The students then started protesting by burning tyres, obstructing traffic in the road and pelting stones at the police.