1. Weapons recovered from a cattle-shed at Pariwartan-1, Kureli, Bhitriban Puwakhure in September 2019. 2. Namuna Khatri, who lost her son and daughter in a bomb blast at Tribeni Rural Municipality on April 30 3. Tilkumari Nepali whose son Gaurav Nepali was killed in the April 30 bomb blast.
ROLPA, May 9: It’s already been almost 14 years since the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Nepal government signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in 2006, ending a decade-long war and starting the peace process. The peace process is said to have been concluded. However, the vestiges of the war, which was fought for more than a decade, have been troubling the people of Rolpa time and again.
The wounds caused by the Maoist conflict have not healed yet as the war-era arms and ammunition have not been managed properly. Innocent people have to lose their lives even today due to the insincerity among those who started the war and the government authorities.
It’s not clear yet for how long the people of Rolpa have to bear the pain of the war which had started some 24 years ago and which was said to have ended with the CPA some 14 years ago.
Earlier on April 30, four innocent children died when a stray bomb carelessly left by the then Maoists during the insurgency period suddenly exploded at Tribeni Rural Municipality of the district. Nokhiram Dangi, 4, Bimala Khatri, 11, Bijaya Khatri, 5, and Gaurav Nepali, 13, lost their lives in the explosion.
Since the then Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) handed over its weapons to the government and joined the peace process in 2006, a total of seven children have died unnatural deaths while three others have sustained injuries in Rolpa alone. This shows severe negligence on the part of both the parties to the war - people still have to die even after nearly a decade and a half of the end of the war.
Ghanashyam Acharya, a human rights activist, said that a large number of common people including children have died due to the unattended explosive items of the time of insurgency. “Many people of Rolpa lost their lives during the war; many were arrested by the security forces and many were also forced to join the rebels at an early age,” said Acharya. During the last week of September last year, a huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from a cattle-shed at Kureli Bhitriban of Pariwartan Rural Municipality-1, Rolpa. Those arms and ammunition were taken under control by the Nepal Army.
Chairman of the then CPN (Maoist), Pushpa Kamal Dahal had given a controversial statement that some of the Maoist arms and ammunition were swept away by rivers when he was reminded of the unexpectedly small amount of weapons submitted to store in the containers under the supervision of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).
It has been learnt that a higher security authority was informed about the recovery of those weapons while the local police administration was clueless. According to a government officer, the District Security Committee was restricted by the higher security authorities from making public the arms and ammunition recovered from the cattle shed in Rolpa. According to sources, the incident was intentionally hidden as it was sure to raise questions on the reliability of the then rebels who are now at the helm of power.
Highly explosive bombs, hand grenades, LMG barrels (6), magnum barrel (1), improvised gun (1), and improvised mortar gun (1) had been recovered from the cattle shed. Similarly, 4191 rounds of live bullets for M-16 and 139 blank bullets were also recovered from the site. Moreover, the list also includes 11 AT1 live bombs, three 40MHE bombs, three hand grenade-36, five detonator-75s, two detonator-27s, 13 51HE bombs and 19 smoking complete bombs. The cache of arms and ammunition also included 22 shells of 2-inch mortar, 12 kg of explosives, two kg of gunpowder, and four meters of safety fuse along with 13, 11, 37, 2, 1, 1 and 3 blank magazines for SLRs, 303 rifles, LMG, SMG, AK47, galil and pistol respectively. Two dysfunctional generators were also found there.
Two sacs of bombs were also found at Kuwari jungle of Thawang Rural Municipality-3, Mirul on March 4 earlier this year. Nepal Army personnel had disposed of these explosives.
Years after the signing of the CPA, explosive items have been found at more than a dozen places in Rolpa. This has posed a serious threat to the lives of the local people. At the same time, it also shows that the government is apparently not sincere about searching and destroying such explosives in Rolpa and ensuring the safety of the people of the district.