Justice still eludes conflict victims a decade after peace accord
January 16, 2020 09:17 AM NPT
By: Rekha Bhusal
BUTUWAL, Jan 16: Rabina Chaudhary of Rajapur of Bardiya district was married off when she was just 16. It was in 2001. The next year, her husband, Krim Kumar Chaudhary went missing. He was reportedly taken away by the police. Krim Kumar was 20 then. Eighteen years down the line, Rabina is clueless about the whereabouts of her husband.
The Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed by the then government and the Maoist rebels five years after Rabina husband went missing.
When the agreement was inked between the two parties, the victims were assured that they would get justice. Rabina was sure of getting some information about Krim Kumar. However, the government has only disappointed her so far.
Rabina is just one among thousands of conflict victims across the country who are forced to endure deep pain of separation with their near and dear ones. Many have not yet aware about the condition of their lost family members.
"In the last few years, I have tirelessly visited the offices meant for conflict victims with all evidences and documents. But my plea has not been heard," said Rabina. "I don't know how long can I continue like this? I even asked the minister concerned and lawmakers whether I have the rights to know about my husband, but they keep mum," she added.
Devsara Oli of Bardiya Municipality – 1 of Bardiya district is still ostracized by her neighbors. They believe that her husband has died long ago, but she has not performed his list rites. Her husband was held by police in 2001 from Bhuri village. He was kept under police custody for 12 days, according to Devsara. "I have no idea where he was taken then," she lamented.
Devsara has also left no stone unturned in the course of seeking the whereabouts of her husband, but to no avail. She feels even traumatized when locals force her to believe that her husband is dead and she should have 'purified' herself by performing the lasts rites.
"Had the government given me a clear answer I would certainly follow the due process. But I don't know the reality. How can I go for the last rites?" she asked.
After her husband went missing, the responsibility of all her three children fell solely upon her shoulders. Life turned much miserable, she said.
During an interaction with conflict victims in Butuwal on Monday, victims like Rabina and Devsara opened a barrage of questions to the government, and the government representatives had no answer to satisfy them.
The victims wanted the government to help them lead a decent life with their family members. After losing the bread winner in the decade-long conflict, their world has gone dark, they say. However, the biggest pain is the lack of information about their loved ones who are either dead or missing. They have urged the government to bring this kind of restlessness to an end. They also demanded due punishment to the guilty.
"We want the government to honestly follow the Comprehensive Peace Accord. Many things were promised to us then, let those promises materialize. We want to know about our family members, we demand punishment for the guilty," said Devsara.