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Death of justice

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
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Nanda Prasad Adhikari

The body of Nanda Prasad Adhikari being taken into an ambulance in Bir Hospital on Monday. 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. 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. Nanda Prasad, who was just skin and bones, slipped into unconsciousness five days ago, but had been revived. On Monday, his condition deteriorated and the end came at 5PM.

The Adhikari couple want justice for those accused in the murder of their son, Krishna Adhikari, and they went on a fast when their pleas 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. Back in Gorkha the Maoists hounded them, killed all their livestock and chased them out of their homestead in Phujel.

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 thought at least the prime minister from Gorkha would. But they locked us up.”

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.four of the accused were detained by police, but had to be released after a court determined last year for lack of evidence.

After their son’s murder, the Ahdikaris were threatened by the Maoists and were told their other son would also be killed. 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 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 under the carpet documented cases of extra judicial killings, disappearances and other excesses. 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. Bhattarai also protected Bal Krishna Dhungel, who was convicted by the Supreme Court for the murder in Okhaldhunga in 2000 of Ujjan Shrestha.

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

Read also: 

Just want justice, Dambar K Shrestha  

Justice denied

Justice delayed and denied Rameswor Bohara

From Cabin 16-17 Kanak Mani Dixit  

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2 Responses to “Death of justice”

  1. ravi raj kaur on Says:

    One of the problems is meddling with other peoples affairs in unimportant issues due to jealousy and so on, but at the same time cold indifference where it does matter.

    The long absence of effective governments caused a nation to die in arab countries, but when things can be resolved in Himalayan landlocked business will be flourished and who is terrorist or previous power holder will be forgotten.
    There is a crying unbalance always this news on suffering and violence, apathy, and no solution but pretend all maoists are murderers and it was so lovely before. It was feudal before and the violence made all worse.

  2. ravi raj kaur on Says:

    my heartfelt condolences with his wife and all relatives may she receive apologies

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