Nepali Times

Almost there

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Two weeks after electing the Prime Minister, the country is likely to have a cabinet of ministers by the end of the day.

After late night talks on Sunday, the two largest parties, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML were able to chart the tentative shape of the new government and the portfolios the parties will head. Out of the 26 ministries, the two parties are likely to get 10 portfolios each. NC will take charge in Ministry of Defence, Finance, Communication, Cooperatives, Local Development and Education, among others. CPN-UML has laid claim on 10 ministries including Ministry of Home, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Health and General Administration. Smaller parties that have supported NC are also in line to head some ministries. The final allocation is expected to be formalised within today.

Internal talks are underway since early morning today to formalise the deal made between the two parties and pick the candidates for the ministerial positions. NC Parliamentary Party is meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar to endorse the deal.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala was finally able to convince CPN-UML to join the government after conceding the Home Ministry. The meeting of the two parties on Sunday focused on allocating ministries. The UML team, which will participate in the government, will be led by the party’s Vice Chairperson Bamdev Gautam.

Untangling the Home Ministry knot

The power sharing talks between Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have concluded on Sunday deciding that the two largest parties need to discuss the matter again on Monday.

Today’s talks focused on allocating ministries to NC and UML. The NC has already decided to assign Home Ministry, the main contention between two largest parties, to the UML.

The UML team, which will participate in the government, will be led by the party’s Vice Chairperson Bamdev Gautam.

In today’s talks, Gautam along with UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel took part in the talks on behalf of UML, while NC Secretary Krishna Prasad Situala led the NC team in the talks.

The next round of talks on Monday will start early in the morning at 7 a.m., it is learnt. It is expected that the talks will conclude soon, paving way for the swearing in ceremony of UML and NC’s new ministers in the evening, the same day.

Read also

Whose Home is it anyway?

The year of living dangerously

Death of justice

Monday, September 22nd, 2014


Nanda Prasad Adhikari

The body of Nanda Prasad Adhikari being carried into an ambulance. Photo: Bikram Rai

Nanda Prasad Adhikari, who had been on hunger strike for 11 months to demand justice for the war-time murder of his son, died on Monday afternoon at Bir Hospital after losing consicousness five days ago.

His wife, Ganga Maya, is still on hunger strike and knows that her husband is now dead. The elderly couple had been on intravenous feeding in the hospital’s intensive care unit for the past year. Their pleas for justice for those accused in the murder of their son, Krishna Adhikari, in 2004 went unheeded by successive governments.

Krishna Adhikari was 18 years old when the Maoists took him away from his home in Phujel of Gorkha district on 4 June 2004. His body was later found in Chitwan after he had been tortured by being dragged behing a motorcycle in a sack. Nanda Prasad and Ganga Maya went to the National Human Rights Commission, civil rights activist groups, the police, and district administration to lodge a complaint. No one listened to them.

So, out of desperation and with nothing left to lose, Nanda Prasad and Ganga Maya came to Kathmandu in January 2013 and staged a hunger strike outside Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai’s official residence in Baluwatar. The police picked them up and dragged them to the Kamal Pokhari Station, where they were illegally detained for 48 days. Later, they were handcuffed and taken back to Gorkha in a jeep and dumped there even though the Maoists had evicted them from their home.

The couple returned to the pavement outside Kathmandu’s Bir Hospital, again in a hunger strike protesting the lack of police action against their son’s killers. Passers-by would crowd around them, but their plight was often drowned in a capital with so much misery.

“We went to Baluwatar because no one listened to us,” Nanda Prasad used to tell journalists, “we though at least the prime minister from Gorkha would. But they locked us up. Now we are back because my wife needs treatment.”

The Adhikaris named the Maoist cadre who they say are behind their son’s murder: Januka Poudel, Chhabilal Poudel, Kali Prasad Adhikari, Baburam Adhikari, Ram Prasad Adhikari, Shiva Prasad Adhikari. Among them, Januka Poudel was personal asssistant to Baburam Bhattarai’s wife, Hisila Yami.

After their son’s murder, the Ahdikaris were threatened by the Maoists and were told their other son would also be killed. Their second son also disappeared after being taken in by Kamal Pokhari Police in January. Then in January 2008, the Maoists killed all their livestock and chased them out of their homestead in Phujel.

The CDO of Gorkha, Krishna Karki said last year the couple refused to take the Rs 1 million compensation for families of conflict victims, and insisted that they wanted the murderers prosecuted. “But it is not possible to file a case because all conflict-related cases like these were scrapped in 2008 by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government,” Karki said.

The police in Chitwan had arrested four of the accused, but had to let them go after the district court let them go for lack of evidence.

The Adhikari case has become emblematic of the Nepali state’s inability and disinterest in addressing conflict-era crimes. There is a tacit understanding between the two warring sides to sweep documented cases of extra judicial killings, disappearances and other excesses under the carpet. The Bhattarai government promoted army officers accused of war crimes, and ordered the dismissal of cases like the torture and murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa in 2004, where the executioners in Dailekh had already confessed to the crime.

The reluctance to address conflict-era human rights violations by the state has also impacted on the delay in passing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Read also: 

Just want justice, Dambar K Shrestha  

Justice denied

Justice delayed and denied Rameswor Bohara

From Cabin 16-17 Kanak Mani Dixit  

Encouraging womentrepreneurs

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Kathmandu has joined the worldwide network of 200 cities in organising Startup Weekends with its fifth edition in the capital this week.

Sunita Thapaliya (left) and Shilu Pradhan discussing their project with Resta Jha, one of the judges.

Sunita Thapaliya (left) and Shilu Pradhan discussing their project with Resta Jha, one of the judges.

In over 54 hours, ten teams of aspiring entrepreneurs worked at Startup Weekends Kathmandu (SWK) on business ideas in varied fields – from music, to environment, including transport. There was a dramatic rise in the number of women who took part during the event 12-14 September at SAP Falcha.

“The small number of girls in Startup Weekends is a global phenomenon, and especially in South Asia,” explained SWK’s organiser, Brijendra Roshi. “But we hope there will be more women in future events.”

Sunita Thapaliya, 24, was leading a team whose idea was to sort waste and converting garbage to organic fertilisers. “Our motive was to address the crucial problem of waste management in Kathmandu,” Thapaliya said, “as organic farming is getting more popular in Nepal, we thought preparing manure from waste would work as a business.”

The team also included Shilu Pradhan, Shraddha Kunwar, Preeti Kaur and, the only male in the team, Romel Bhattarai. None of the girls looked like they were “shy”, and the only apprehension for Shilu and Shraddha was that they had no IT background.

But they’ve never let this become a problem. “They had a focused business model and their final presentation proved their plan was financially viable,” commented Karmath Dangol, one of the judges.

The members of the winning team finally found out that Startup Weekend is not dedicated to men specialised in IT only. While Shilu has found more strength to fulfill her dream there, Sunita thinks SWK really helps to explore one’s potential.

Still, SWK could do with more women participants. Aayush Shrestha who won SWK’s fourth edition had invited his female friends to come. “I know many talented girls,” he said, “but I don’t why they didn’t come.”

Brijendra Joshi started SWK in February 2013 as part of a global effort to encourage young entrepreneurs to start new businesses. He is fully committed to encouraging more women to join the effort.

“I do believe that it will take some time to have more gender balanced SWK,” he said, “but I am confident it will happen.”

When Brijendra Joshi launched the first edition of Startup Weekend Kathmandu in February 2013, his objective was to promote entrepreneurship in Nepal.

“I like the idea that 54 hours can change the way we look at things,” he said. The prerequisite to bring the event in Nepal was the participation in a Startup Weekend. So, he went to the September 2012 edition in Delhi with Pravin Raj Joshi and won the first prize.

“Our idea was to have a platform for the interaction with blue-collar workers and home owners who need services in convenient way,” recalled Brijendra.

Since then, he has been trying to eliminate the gender-gap in entrepreneurship in Nepal. “Women have managed households in Nepal and put everyone together to run smooth families. As the management skills are already there, why not bring it out to manage their own ventures?” asked Karmath Dangol.

However, Brijendra is still doubtful when he sees parents who are reluctant to let their daughters attend a SWK. “I don’t understand why some can send their daughters to Australia or USA, but not to a program in their own home city.”

Stéphane Huët

Nurse’s book wins Madan Prize

Sunday, September 14th, 2014
Radha Paudel

Radha Paudel

As a young girl in Chitwan, whenever Radha Paudel complained about not having new shoes or pencils, she remembers her father telling her that children in Jumla didn’t even have enough to eat. When she grew up, Radha became an anesthesiologist at Bharatpur Hospital and applied for a more senior position. There were only two openings: a relatively easy job in Rupendehi, or the hardships of Jumla. Without hesitation, she chose to go to Jumla.

Her father, who had worked in Jumla previously, tried to make her change her mind. It is dangerous, he said, there is a war going on and life is hard in the remote mountains. But Radha reminded her father that it was he who had inspired her to go to Jumla in the first place, and do something for the people there.

When she got to Jumla in 2001, Radha could not sleep at nights seeing how mothers died at child- birth, children toiled as porters to earn a living. It was fluke she wasn’t born there, she thought, and she was troubled by the low esteem with which the rest of Nepal looked at Jumlis.

Radha got a job with a safe motherhood project supported by DFID and immediately set out to the remoter parts of the district to care for women even though it was a war zone. The security forces and the Maoists both looked at Radha with suspicion and thought she was an enemy spy.

Khalanga Ma Hamala (The Attack on Khalanga)

Khalanga Ma Hamala (The Attack on Khalanga)

The Madan Puraskar Guthi announced on 14 September to award this year’s Madan Literature Prize to Khalanga Ma Hamala (The Attack on Khalanga). In the book, Radha Paudel relives minute details of the battle of Jumla and  how that close brush with death motivated her to continue to work for the upliftment of the people  of this remote part of Nepal.

But, as Radha Paudel, reminds us, “The end of the war has not meant peace. The roots of the conflict are still there. As long as people are hungry, there will be war.”

Radha Paudel went through similar doubts, but persevered because she thought it was important to tell the story so people understand the true meaning of peace, and valued it. She teared up during a recent interview and said in a choking voice: “I had to go back to Jumla and help the people I went there to help.”

After the battle of Jumla, Radha started writing down everything she remembered about the 13 terrifying hours of the fierce Maoist attack on Jumla on the night of 14 November 2002. The CDO, DSP and dozens of army and police were killed, and no one knows how many Maoists died.

Radha first just hid under her quilt, thinking it would protect her. Bullets whizzed all around, hitting the ceiling and walls. The army’s helicopters hovered overhead, dropping mortar bombs, while the Maoists and the army exchanged fierce gunfire in the street below. She peeped out of the window to see captured policemen being beheaded like goats.

Radha Paudel with some members of the community she worked with in Jumla in 2002

Radha Paudel with some members of the community she worked with in Jumla in 2002

She went to hide in her landlady’s room, but a neighboring house caught fire and they were trapped between the smoke and the gunfire outside. Radha thought this was the end, but somehow survived the night. Radha kept working in Jumla, and got the Women Peacemaker Award last year for her selfless work in rural Nepal during the conflict. Radha’s first manuscript was lost, and she wrote it all over again from memory.

Radha says she will plough the royalty from Khalanga ma Hamala to her 
group, Action Works Nepal, which works in Jumla, Kalikot and Achham to help the Karnali people to stand on their own feet.

Kunda Dixit

Pokhara tries to save its famous paddy

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Urban sprawl and out-migration has reduced the production of Pokhara’s rare rice

House in the middle of rice fields

Photo: Merilin Piipuu

Pokhara once used to be renowned for its indigenous rice variety called Pokhareli Jethobudo, which is also the first traditional seed variety for which Nepali farmers were given intellectual property rights.

Pokhareli is an aromatic rice that is in very high demand all over Nepal and abroad. The rice is soft and tasty, but its market price is twice that of the other rice varieties, giving farmers a hefty income. But Pokhreli is becoming more difficult to find in the market because the paddy fields where it used to be grown is being devoured by urban sprawl, which in turn is driving prices up further.

Although the city is not expanding as fast as Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara land prices have soared as people settle in what is considered Nepal’s most scenic city. Migrant workers coming back to central Nepal districts have also driven the property market by investing in land.

Pokhara people are not only losing their soft and tasty rice, but also the whole paddy-based civilisation that used to go with it. For instance, Pokhareli Jethobudo used to be mandatory during festivals and other important occasions, and as it gets harder to find people are opting for alternative varieties.

Pokhara Valley has the highest rainfall in Nepal, and the moisture has given ecological pockets here microclimates and soil types that have resulted in a wide variety of rice. Along with Pokhreli, there used to be Jhinuwa, Biramphul, Mansara, Thulo Gurdi, Sano Gurdi, Gudura, Anadi, Ekle and Anga rices – every one of them with a distinctive texture, aroma and taste. But loss of arable land and farmers switching to modern high-yield hybrids has endangered some of these varieties.

Pokhara farmers are now getting together to treat seeds and grow them in nurseries. For example, the Fewa Seed Producers Group in Pame grows Pokhreli Jethobudo seeds and makes them available to farmers who want to use them. But the government is promoting modern non culture seeds, and this discourages the use of indigenous varieties.

“There is no control whatsoever over the varieties grown,” says Kamal Khadka, 32, an agricultural scientist in Li-BIRD, a Pokhara-based group that works with farmers all over Nepal. Farmers are attracted by high prices for land, and are selling them, and with their sons migrating to work abroad, elderly parents also find there is no one to farm the fields.

With new residential houses now mushrooming all over what used to be Pokhara’s famous emerald paddy fields, there is a race to save what is left of its rare rice. But who will take the responsibility before it is too late? Is it going to be farmers who are simply interested to improve living standards, the government, or the private sector?

Whoever does it, the price of development can be felt by all the people who would like to have tasty and soft rice on their dinner table.

Not isolated anymore

Being a farmer in Nepal once meant living in isolation and loneliness, faraway from the world. Not any more.

With the road network now reaching nearly every VDC of every district in the country, far-flung hamlets are only hours away from cities. But even more importantly, satellite tv, mobile phones and the internet have connected the hinterland to the centre.

Farmer Surya Mohan Bastola in his farm.

Farmer Surya Mohan Bastola in his farm. Photo: Merilin Piipuu

Majhthana is a small village near Begnas Lake, 30 km east of Pokhara. The only way to get there in the past was to walk the whole day from the Prithvi Highway. Now there is a rough road that winds up the mountains to reach the settlement. It may still seem like you are in the middle of nowhere when you get to Majhthana, but farmers are using their new income to buy tvs hooked up to satellite dishes, checking Facebook on their smart phones and hooking up their laptops to internet dongles.

“My favourite channels are National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet,” says 49- year-old farmer Surya Mohan Bastola. When there is no electricity, he listens to the radio, and is mostly tuned into to the agriculture programs on FM, LI-BIRD ko Chautari and Krishi Karyakram.

Bastola has received little agricultural training, but he is learning new words like ‘organic farming’ and ‘permaculture’. He now knows how important it is to make farming sustainable, and use alternatives to pesticides and chemical fertilisers. “We have not thought about migrating to the city,” says Surya’s wife, Sita Devi. “Our children are working abroad, but we talk to them every day on our mobiles so it doesn’t feel like they are far away.” Sita Devi carries her mobile wrapped up in her patuka, even when she is working in the fields.

Sita Devi, wife of Surya Mohan Bastola, talking on her mobile phone.

Sita Devi, wife of Surya Mohan Bastola, talking on her mobile phone. Photo: Merilin Piipuu

The mobile phone and the tv are gifts from the Bastolas’ youngest son who works in Qatar. The parents believe that one day he will come back and take over the farm.

“You have to make your son Lahure so that they value their home more,” explains Surya. Indeed, their youngest son loves working in the farm and is planning to return. His decision has been made easier because Majhthana is not remote anymore and the quality of life is even better than in the city. Paradoxically, this is exactly what tourists come to look for in Nepal. The remote village life where there is no technology except for a few books has become one of the ideals of Western world. This has led many farmers to establish home-stay eco-villages to augment income. Furthermore, tourists often fall in love with Nepal’s countryside, and are willing to support local schools or households in buying communication technology. This in return makes people stay in the countryside.

Says Surya Bastola: “Being in the middle of nature is like meditation, it brings peace to your mind, body and soul, and maybe make us live longer. But now we are connected to the whole world from here.”

Merilin Piipuu in Pokhara

Read also:

Sharing what she knows  Tong Sian Choo 

Earning from nature to pay for its upkeep Kunda Dixit

Blood and mud

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

One World Theatre unveils a fascinating production of In the Red and Brown Water in Kathmandu

In the Red and Brown Water Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water is a lyrical tragedy set in the ‘distant present’ of the fictional town of San Pere, Louisiana, and relates the story of Oya, a young woman who ‘runs like the wind’.

She refuses a track scholarship in a state university to stay with her suffering mother. When Mama Moja dies, Oya desperately runs after another target: getting pregnant. She then hesitates between passion with Shango and security with Ogun.

The plot is set in an Afro-American context, which has nothing to do with Nepal. “I would have never directed this play in the US with non Black actors,” admits director, Deborah Merola. Still, the themes covered are universal and surely struck resonance last week with every Nepali and expat in the audience at the Theatre Village: social pressure, accomplishment, motherhood, dream and reality. The production and the performance of The One World Theatre make the story remarkably translucent and easy to watch.

Alize Biannic from France succeeds in turning Oya’s radiant smile progressively into dramatic expressions. Divya Dev is sensitive as the stuttering Ogun, who recovers the ability to talk when Oya falls in his arms. Rojita Buddhacharya and Binita Baral have minor roles in Act 1, but brilliantly portray characters Nia and Shu, who gain in importance as the play goes on. The amazing Loonibha Tuladhar steps out, as she flawlessly interprets the Afro-American aunt Elegua.

The play could do with some tiny technical adjustments. While the light should put emphasis on the ‘gift’ Oya gives to Shango at the end, the stage gets darker and the action loses intensity. In the meantime, the two musicians in the corner of the stage add nothing much to the play, except when it comes to moving the rain stick that gives the needed aquatic atmosphere.

Still, the setting deserves praise. The minimalist decor serves McCraney’s powerful text well, and the patchwork of colours painted by Kurchi Dasgupta helps blur the boundary between dream and reality. The display adds vividness to the characters’ gestures and also reveals some of their inner emotions. The play also involves some bad language without falling into vulgarity, whereas the sexuality is made beautifully suggestive through dancing – an alternative added by Merola who rightfully takes advantage of the talents of Alize Biannic, a former dancer of the Royal Ballet of London.

Deborah Merola’s adaptations are often considered to be too long. But her creative direction and the talented actors of the One World Theatre make this In the Red and Brown Water a fascinating piece of theatre.


Loonibha Tuladhar

Loonibha Tuladhar

When Loonibha Tuladhar appeared on the stage, you would be forgiven for feeling like you have arrived at the Louisiana bayou. The actress is perfect as the busybody aunt Elegua, godmother of Oya. Tuladhar talks and gestures like a stereotypical Afro-American woman from the popular imagination. One had to reconfirm that Tuladhar was indeed a Nepali. “I’m actually from a typical Newari family of Kathmandu,” she says after the show. “I’m a big fan of Queen Latifah and Will Smith, so it wasn’t difficult to pick up the accent and gestures.”

Loonibha Tuladhar’s incredible talent bursts forth in her performance in Merola’s In the Red and Brown Water. She is never louder than the other characters, and her performance is never a caricature.

Stéphane Huët

In the Red and Brown Water
Rs 500
5 to14 September, 5.30pm
6 and 13 September, 1.30pm
The Village Theatre, Lajimpat

False start

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Locals oppose an addition to the Changu Narayan museum gallery

The inauguration of an important new gallery addition to the Living Traditions Museum of Changu Narayan was disrupted  by disgruntled locals.

The inauguration of an important new gallery addition to the Living Traditions Museum of Changu Narayan was disrupted by disgruntled locals.

The inauguration of an important new gallery addition to the Living Traditions Museum of Changu Narayan was disrupted on 6 September by disgruntled locals who said they were not consulted.

The gallery, called ‘Now and Then since 464 AD’ would have complemented the UNESCO World Heritage site which has relics of some of the oldest settlements in Kathmandu Valley.

James Gambrione and Judith Chase, who curated the section on the repoussé, was explaining how the gallery came about when he was interrupted by slogan-shouting locals. American Ambassador Peter Bode who was supposed to inaugurate the gallery returned back from Bhaktapur.

Jim Danisch, the artist who designed the museum said it all started when about 20 “very hot tempered” men disturbed the preparations earlier in the morning. Coming from the nearby villages of Shagdaha, Halchap and Narayantar, they asked the organisers to postpone the inauguration.

“They were confused about their claims,” Danisch told Nepali Times, “but I understood they were complaining that they had not been participating in the conception of the museum.”

The situation is now calmer as the lawyers of the Living Traditions Museum negotiated with the locals to have the inauguration on 13 September, it is not clear what the exact demands of the locals are. One complaint was that the Living Traditions Museum didn’t have the proper permissions, but Danisch said the museum had proper permits from the Department of Archaeology and UNESCO.

Jay, 29, who owns a souvenir shop near the temple said he understands the anger of the villagers around: “They feel neglected and don’t see the museum adding an advantage to the villages.”

But Ashim Bhatta, 32, who has a gallery of thangka paintings near the entrance of Changu Narayan Temple was really disappointed by the incident.

“I have known Judith Chase for a long time and I know she has invited all the community around to get involved in the project from the beginning,” says Bhatta, “sometimes, people just want to show the little power they have.”

The Living Traditions Museum holds dozens of pieces that were collected by Judith Chase, while she was trekking all over Nepal between 1975 and 1985. “It’s sad, because the museum is real touristic opportunity for the people of the community,” says Jim Danisch. “We’ll wait for the discussion of next Saturday to see how things evolve.”

Stephane Huet 

Read also:

Return of the past  Lawrence Miller

Changu Narayan facelift 

Lamjung’s ghost town

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

More than eight years after the war ended, the displaced still haven’t returned to their village

The army came in the daytime and the guerrillas came by night to taunt and threaten the villagers of the tiny village of Maling. Finally, they couldn’t bear it any longer, and more than 100 families left their crops and livestock in the care of neighbours and abandoned their homes. They haven’t come back.

Such was the fear that they haven’t returned even after the ceasefire in 2006. Their houses are falling apart, the terrace fields are overgrown with weeds, the school building is dilapidated, and Maling is a ghost town.

It all started after the Maoists came in one night in 2002 and left a dozen bags and one of their fighters, Ramchandra Tiwari, in the home of Som Maya Tamang. The army had always suspected that the village located 10 hours straight uphill from the district capital of Besi Sahar was a Maoist stronghold. A few days later, they surrounded the village and went house-to-house, they caught and shot dead Tiwari even though the villagers tried to save him.

HOMELESS: The home of Som Maya Tamang in Maling village of Lamjung is falling apart, while she lives in a rented room in Besi Sahar working as a cook.

HOMELESS: The home of Som Maya Tamang in Maling village of Lamjung is falling apart, while she lives in a rented room in Besi Sahar working as a cook.

A few nights later, the Maoists returned and took away Ward Chairperson, Niru Maya Tamang and Som Maya and tortured them in a nearby primary school, accusing them of being spies. But the rebels let them go after they couldn’t find evidence that they were spying. “We were so afraid that we couldn’t stay there any longer, we left,” recalls Niru Maya.

All 127 families abandoned their homesteads in Maling. Some settled down in Besi Sahar or Pokhara, others went to Kathmandu and beyond to India and the Gulf to find work. None have returned.

Som Maya today lives with her family in a rented room in Besi Sahar, and worked as a cook to feed her two sons and two daughters. Her elder son dropped out in Grade 8 and went off to India to work, his younger brother followed him. Both are now in Saudi Arabia.

At the Lamjung office of the Peace Committee, there are only names of six individuals out of the 127 displaced families from Maling who have been given Rs 5,000 compensation. The current coordinator of the committee, Maoist member Mohan Hari Poudel, denies there are any displaced people in Maling, and maintains that no one can claim to be displaced by war anymore.

Parbati Tamang, is also displaced from her home in Maling (right), but never got any compensation, and lives off earnings sent by a brother who works abroad.

Parbati Tamang, is also displaced from her home in Maling, but never got any compensation, and lives off earnings sent by a brother who works abroad.

Former coordinator and ex-DDC chair Krishna Prasad Koirala, however, says it’s a shame that the displaced of Maling never got compensation from the state.  In fact, the Peace Committee doesn’t even have a record of how much aid it distributed and to whom. For example in 2007, there is a record of the local Peace Committee receiving Rs 2.7 million, but the cash books show that only Rs 7.85 million was disbursed.

After the ceasefire, the interim government decided to give families of those killed, tortured and displaced compensation.  Under this, the family of teacher Muktinath Adhikari who was executed by the Maoists in 2002, collected compensation for both his death and their displacement. Mohan Singh Ghimire, also from Lamjung, who was killed by the Maoists also got Rs 300,000 as death compensation and Rs 50,400 for being displaced.

Aside from high profile victims like these, or survivors with political connections, ordinary poor farmers who also suffered loss have never got any compensation.

Maya Nath Ghimire of Sribhanjyang was detained by the army and tortured, but he has no idea where to get the compensation he is entitled to. Bishnu Ghimire of Bhalayakharka put in an application at the District Administration in Besi Sahar, but he never heard back. Bishnu Pandey was abducted by the Maoists while in Grade 10 in his school in Bhalayakharka, then he was detained by the Army for being a suspected Maoist and beaten almost to death. He never got any money. Torture victim Chandrakant Poudel was detained by the Army, filed his application for compensation, but has got nothing.

Government records show only 15 people who claimed to be detained and tortured got Rs 25,000 each from the state. But while real torture victims have got nothing, there are questions about who these 15 are and whether some of them are genuine victims.

Yubaraj Shrestha in Lamjung

Read also:

Tortured past Naresh Newar 

Sharing sorrow to ease the pain  Juanita Malagon

Open wounds Mallika Aryal