DANG, Aug 14: In 2001, Til Bahadur Kami of east Rukkum bought a small plot of land from Deusari Kami for Rs 150,000. The land transaction was approved by the parallel government headed by the Maoist rebels as there was no trace of the central government then.
Upon registering the transaction, Til Bahadur was assured that he held the legal ownership of the land. He did not use the land for the next ten years. Later in 2011, questions were raised over the land's ownership.
Despite selling it during the insurgency era, the previous owner Deusari started claiming that the land belongs to him. Til Bahadur protested saying that he has been the legal owner ever since he purchased the land.
The argument continued and Deusari filed a case at the district court. Til Bahadur fought the legal battle in the court for two years, but odds were against him. The court did not accept his claim as Til Bahadur couldn't validate his ownership which was only approved by the parallel government of the rebels. As a result, Deusari eventually emerged victorious.
The verdict would force Til Bahadur's eviction from the land where he had already built a house. Due to the risk of being displaced, arbitration efforts were initiated between the two disputing parties.
Deusari insisted Til Bahadur to pay him the current rate of the land, stating that he would hand him the legal ownership only after seeing the condition fulfilled. At the end, Til Bahadur bowed down to the demand and in 2013 made payment of Rs 350,000 to purchase the land he had already purchased a decade ago.
“The legal ownership of the land has now been given to Til Bahadur after he re-purchased the land at the new rate. But he had no other choice,” said law practitioner Ekka Bahadur Pandey.
Kriti Bahadur Oli and Prem Bahadur Oli of Tribeni Rural Municipality were also forced to purchase the land one more time from the same person they had bought the land during the insurgency. They both had purchased their respective lands from Bir Bahadur Oli, a local, and made the same mistake of believing in the validity of the papers of the parallel government.
During the decade-long insurgency, almost 4,000 land transactions were approved by the parallel government. At that time, the Maoists had assured that the documents approved by them would later get legal recognition. Locals had no choice but to believe them, leading to many such unfortunate situations.
According to Pandey, nearly 1,500 individuals have been forced to purchase the same land twice for the same reason. “Some of the disputes were sorted out by the court in previous land owner's favor. There are many cases where the disputes were resolved by arbitration after the second purchase,” he added.