Maoist insurgency’s ‘first victim’ complains of being deprived of relief

Published On: October 7, 2018 05:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 7: Ram Prasad Bhatta, who was injured in police firing that claimed the first casualty of Maoist insurgency in the district of Gorkha, has complained of being deprived of the government relief. Fourteen days after the Maoists had begun the armed struggle against the state, Bhatta was injured in the police firing.

Bhatta was injured in police firing together with Dil Bahadur Ramtel, the first civilian killed in the decade-long Maoist insurgency. Both Bhatta and Ramtel had gone to the nearby Surya Jyoti Secondary School together with their seniors after hearing the rumor that the police were going to arrest the school's Principal Bir Bahadur Gurung.

“Seniors from my school, Brahmacharani Lower Secondary School, had gone to the next school thinking that their presence could thwart the teachers' arrest. But they opened fire at us soon after we reached there,” said Bhatta, who was recently in Kathmandu to participate in a program organized to exhibit war mementos.

Police had returned to school to arrest Principal Gurung a day after he opposed the police's attempt to enter into the school saying schools are zones of peace and police entry will affect the study. When the police mobilized from Ghyampesal reached the school, locals and students from the nearby lower secondary school had reached outside the Surya Jyoti School to stop police from arresting Principal Gurung.

When the police fired at the crowd, Ramtel died on the spot due to the lack of timely treatment but Bhatta survived after receiving treatment in Kathmandu. Two bullets were fired at the crowd; one went into Bhatta's stomach.

“Ramtel, too, would have survived if he had been airlifted to Kathmandu,” said Bhatta.

The then 16-year old Bhatta has not received anything in relief other than the Rs 40,000 that was provided by the Chief District Officer. The government is providing up to Rs 1 million to each victim as part of interim relief to support rehabilitation of those affected by the war.

“I have not received anything more than what the CDO provided shortly after I returned home from the hospital,” said Bhatta.

With no option in the village, Bhatta had gone to India to undergo electronics repairing training. Today, he runs an electronics repairing shop in Gorkha.

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