Explainer: The brick kiln murders Alam is accused of

Published On: October 14, 2019 08:08 AM NPT By: Bhadra Sharma

KATHMANDU, Oct 14: At about 2 pm on April 9, 2008 a group of local leaders affiliated to the Nepali Congress came to Sri Narayan Singh’s home in Rajkot in Rautahat district. It was the eve of the 2008 historic Constituent Assembly elections. 

The group asked Sri Narayan’s son, Trilok Pratap Singh, to join the poll campaign saying ‘Netaji has summoned you’. The Netaji [leader] was none other than Nepali Congress election candidate Mohammad Aftab Alam.

Shri Narayan, now a septuagenarian, fell in a dilemma over whether to allow the son, who was just 22, to join the poll campaign. 

The voting was to start in a few hours’ time. That’s why Nepali Congress leaders had come to Singh’s house to make their last-ditch efforts to woo voters. Trilok’s family, which initially had not allowed him to join Alam’s poll campaign, couldn’t stop him as Alam himself had insisted.

With a heavy heart, the family allowed the 22-year old, locally known as Pintu, to join the poll campaign. 

Trilok’s father later learnt that the Nepali Congress cadres wanted Trilok for transporting bombs, which they planned to detonate at various polling booths and the houses of rival candidates with the intent of terrorizing the voters and capturing polling stations. 

To execute the plan, according to Shri Narayan, bombs were being manufactured at the cowshed of one Shekh Indiyas, Alam’s uncle in Rajpur Faradawa. Another youth Osi Okhtar Minya was also taken along with Trilok.

Like Trilok, Minya also did not return home till late in the evening. The worried families along with some neighbors headed for Rajpur Faradawa, which is some six kilometers away from Rajkot, searching for the two youths, but in vain. Their families were more worried as the locals of Rajpur Faradawa said they had heard loud explosions that very evening. 

When they reached the spot of the explosions, the then Superintendent of Police Laxman Neupane (who was later killed in Tikapur massacre) and others from the Armed Police Forced were already deployed there to bar outsiders from entering the village. They were forced to return home.

After several weeks the family members learnt from villagers that, Trilok, Minya and around 20 Indian nationals were seriously injured when the bombs they were making in the cowshed accidentally went off. They later learnt that 14 people had instantly died and eight were seriously injured in the blast in a stockpile of bombs. 

After the accident, doctors from Gaur Hospital were brought to treat the injured including Trilok. But later the 14 dead and eight injured were allegedly thrown into the furnace of a brick kiln by Alam’s men in their attempt to destroy the evidence of the incident.

Weeks later, representatives of the Nepal Bar Association, Informal Sector Service Center (Insec) and other human rights activists visited the area and inquired about the incident with the then SP Neupane. The local administration and court refused to take up complaints of murder.  That’s why Ruksana Khatun and Narayan Singh Rajput, kin of some of the victims, moved the Supreme Court on behalf of victims accusing Alam and others of committing murders. 

Later, the court ordered arrest of Alam and others involved in this case. But police did not arrest him saying they could not find him. Along with Alam, his nephew, Mohamand Mustak Alam, also known as Mustak Raja, was also accused in the killings. Mustak Raja, who later joined the UML, contested in the provincial assembly elections from Rautahat.

Meanwhile, Alam was elected lawmaker in the 2008 CA elections and also became minister. Later Ruksana Khatun, one of the writ petitioners, was mysteriously killed. 

When all this happened, Nepali Congress’ Krishna Sitaula was the home minister. Despite the murder cases against him, Alam was elected to parliament twice -- in 2008 and in the recent parliamentary elections in 2017. 

“For me, this is not a democracy. I will have to flee to India if I challenge him [Alam] in court because one of the petitioners has already been killed,” Sri Narayan had told in an interview ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections, “There is no justice for powerless people like us.”

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