Shree Kumari Roka. Photo: Dinesh Subedi/ Republica
ROLPA, June 22: The beheaded body of Ramji Gharti was found in Mawang of Jaimakasla of Rolpa district late in the evening on February 1, 1997. Fifty-four-year-old Gharti, a local of Thawang Rural Municipality-5, was allegedly killed by the then insurgents. Later, police informed the family members about the death after recovering his body.
The next day, Shree Kumari Roka along with her mother reached Mawang in order the claim the body of her father. “At first he was badly beaten and then his head was chopped off. His head was thrown around 40 meters away from his body. I was confused whether he was my own father or not,” said Shree Kumari, adding, “I have no words to explain how hard it was for me to see him like that.”
Ramji was a cadre of Nepali Congress (NC) in his VDC. He was popular among the locals and had a good hold in the society. “It almost looked like his separated head was still staring at his own body even after death,” said Madhav Prasad Acharya, former district chairperson of NC.
After the death of Gharti, family members of the deceased were displaced from the village. Shree Kumari studied at the district headquarters and even got married and now she is a mother of a son and a daughter. Her husband Suresh Roka is out for foreign employment.
After struggling for years, she began working in Land Revenue and Survey Department, where she looked after land and property transactions. Later she entered NC. By now, she has handled the responsibility of the district committee of NC, treasurer of women's association and Human Rights Protection Network, Rolpa. Currently she is the district representative of NC.
According to Shree Kumari, during the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections of 2008, she could not get the ticket for the election as she did not have links with higher-ups in the party. Shree Kumari, who has earned a reputation as a loyal and hardworking politician in the village, is going to compete in the local elections with the support of the same party which was responsible for the death of her father.
“It has been almost 21 years of his death. It was a painful wound which got healed with time. We cannot always get stuck to the past as we need to move ahead,” said Shree Kumari.
With the support from the cadres of Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN (Maoist), Shree Kumari has been chosen by NC to contest for the post of vice chairperson of the rural municipality in the upcoming local elections.
“If I get elected, I will provide justice to all the victims and will transform Thawang Rural Municipality into a model town,” she shared. She further informed that education is also a priority for her as the rural municipality lacks far behind in terms of education. Besides that, she has plans to improve the health, agriculture, communication and tourism sectors of the rural municipality.
The nomination of the thirty-eight-year-old Shree Kumari created quite a buzz especially when she joined hands with the cadres of the party which was responsible for killing her father.
“There is nothing to be surprised as anything can happen in politics,” said former NC Chairperson Madhav Prasad Acharya.
After the peace process, the grudges of the past have long been buried.