KATHMANDU, Jan 14: The government is preparing to increase the number of martyrs. Within a few days, the number of martyrs is going to be increased by issuing a notice in the Nepal Gazette.
The government is preparing to declare 2,601 more martyrs including those who lost their lives in various incidents and accidents. According to a high source at the Ministry of Home Affairs, the number of martyrs in Nepal will reach 14,798 with the publication of the notice in the gazette this time. The cabinet meeting held last Tuesday already decided to announce additional numbers of martyrs.
“The Council of Ministers of Nepal has decided to correct the details of the people who were declared as martyrs on different dates with wrong information, to publish the names of the martyrs exempted from publication in the Nepal Gazette and to announce additional martyrs,” the Cabinet of Ministers said in its decision on Tuesday.
Now the Ministry of Home Affairs is expected to issue a notice in the gazette adding the number of martyrs in the next few days. “Everyone's list has arrived. A notice will be issued in the gazette in the next few days,” said a high source at the ministry.
According to the data maintained by the ministry, the number of martyrs in Nepal is 12,197 at present. About 2,601 new martyrs are to be added to this list. According to a high source at the ministry, the Prime Minister's Office has given a list of 1,604 people to be added to the martyrs’ list.
Similarly, there are 993 people recommended and sent by the chief district officers from different districts. The Nepali Army (NA) has also recommended that three people be declared martyrs. Similarly, the Armed Police Force has recommended to the government to add the name of one person to the martyrs’ list.
The government has been providing a one-time financial assistance of Rs 1 million to a martyr’s family. Sources claimed that the latest list included martyrs from Maoist insurgency who were not in the list before.
There are also civil servants including the army, police, armed force, National Investigation Department and Maoists who died during the Maoist armed conflict.
The number of martyrs announced by the government from 2048 BS to 2079 BS is 12,197. The government has decided to declare a martyr through the Council of Ministers. The decision will only be recognized after it is published in the gazette.
The Council of Ministers on June 4, 2006 declared 21 people who died during the mass movement as martyrs. Similarly, the names of 2,894 people from the police, army, armed forces, civil servants, and the National Investigation Department who died during the Maoist insurgency were on the list of martyrs.
Likewise, 8,572 people including 6,946 Maoists and 1,626 others were declared martyrs. After that, during the Terai Madhesh movement, the government negotiated with the protesters to declare those who had died in the course of various movements as martyrs.
Security expert and former home secretary Dr Govinda Kusum, stated that martyrs should be declared based on the recommendations formed by the Commission led by Modanath Prasrit. A commission was formed under the coordination of Prasrit, who is also a former minister, for the declaration of martyrdom.
The commission was formed on December 1, 2009 under the chairmanship of Prasrit. In 2068 BS, a report was submitted under the chairmanship of Nabaraj Subedi. He is of the opinion that martyrs should be declared based on that report.
“In terms of managing the transitional period in the implementation of federalism, the state has to look at such matters, but the declaration of martyrdom should be done based on the suggestions given by the commission chaired by Modanath Prasrit. If that happens, justice will be served to everyone,” said former secretary Kusum.
According to him, the government should be clear about whether the struggle for freedom is a political goal or a people's movement or a martyr announced during a struggle against a despotic regime. “Disputes may arise. Let's announce the martyrs according to the classification, so that the meaning and spirit of martyrdom can be highly respected,” he said.
Some political parties have been putting forward the demand to declare martyrs for the sake of fulfilling their political interests and some for the greed of receiving Rs 1 million. When Pushpa Kamal Dahal became the Prime Minister for the first time, 6,344 people were declared martyrs on December 24, 2008.
The Dahal-led government had declared the Maoist activists killed during the armed conflict as martyrs. After that, 1,626 people were declared martyrs in 2067 BS during the tenure of Madhav Kumar Nepal, who became the Prime Minister from the then CPN-UML.
The Nepal-led government declared the political party leaders and activists killed during the Maoist insurgency as martyrs. At that time, the government provided Rs 1.619 billion as relief to the families of those killed in the 10-year armed conflict.
Similarly, on August 14, 2006, the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba declared 68 people as martyrs, including those who had died during the Madhesh Movement initiated by the then United Democratic Madhesi Front. At that time, 12 security personnel were also declared martyrs. When Deuba was the prime minister, 16 people who were killed in Chhintang by the panchayat government were also declared martyrs on January 12, 2018.
The government declared Maulana Khursid Alam as a martyr on September 22, 2018. He was shot dead by an unidentified group in Sunsari.
Sunny Khuna, who was shot dead by the police during a demonstration demanding the arrest of Nirmala Panta’s killer, has also been included in the list of martyrs. Panta was murdered in 2075 BS after being raped.
Similarly, on October 13, 2017, construction businessman Sharad Kumar Gauchan was also added to the list of martyrs. A criminal group shot and killed him in Shantinagar, Kathmandu.