Painful case of neglect

Published On: June 9, 2019 02:25 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

She devoted her life for the cause of revolution to change her society, her country and lives of people like her. She fought the battles with forces then perceived as ‘enemies’ of the people. She married a man she thought was her comrade. Then the revolution came to an end, those who assured her of better life during the course of struggle became ministers or reached the top political ranks. They forgot her, even her husband abandoned her. She fell ill and there was nobody to come to her aid. She could not afford money for treatment and was left to live in miseries. This painful case is our own, from Rolpa district. The person to suffer this huge neglect—from her husband, the leaders with whom she fought together and from the state—is Nirmala BK, 32, from Rolpa. 

The story of Nirmala BK is heart-wrenching. Years ago, she joined the armed revolution launched by the Maoists. She was a committed combatant and was trained by current Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun. For the past eight years, she has been suffering from mental illness. Things went worse, when three years ago, she mistakenly put her both legs in fire. As the family had no money for treating her injured feet, they relied on herbal medicines but the burnt feet started smelling and her family members made her sleep in the cowshed along the side of goats and chicken. Yet the family could not take her to the hospital for lack of money. After this report was published on Tuesday in Republica, Manav Sewa Ashram, a social organization, in coordination with official of Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, has assured financial help and she has been taken to Butwal for treatment. The ministry has promised all the required assistance. Hopefully, Nirmala BK will recover soon and will be able to live a dignified life.

But the story of Nirmala BK could be a representative case of Maoist neglect to hundreds of people who fought for the cause of ending inequality and bringing socio-economic transformation in the country. There could be many Nirmala BKs battling with hardships and state neglect, while many leaders who led the revolution are living in comfort. Broadly, the story of Nirmala BK is the story of the state neglect toward the poor and the marginalized even more than a decade after Maoists came to the mainstream politics and Maoist leaders headed the government at least thrice. The current communist government does not seem to be doing things any differently when it comes to the poor and marginalized people. There are grievances that the state has been serving the interests of only rich and powerful totally ignoring the pressing needs of common people. And the outfit led by Netra Bikram Chand has been capitalizing on these public grievances. With the state neglect continuing, it might not take long for these grievances to implode. This is the time for the government to reflect on the promises of improving living standards, providing free health and education to the poor and marginalized. There are many people like Nirmala BK, and not necessarily former Maoist combatants.

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