Sudip Khadka was in the group of Nabaraj’s supporters and friends. “We were surrounded on all four sides, even the people who we played football with started to attack us,” he remembered. “Hundreds of people came out with sticks, stones, sickles and hoes and started chasing us.”
Being outnumbered, many of the young men started running down to the river, but the villagers caught up with them and started hitting them with household implements. Their lifeless bodies were thrown in the water, while others risked their lives by trying to swim across. But there were people on the other side waiting for them to wade ashore.
“The boys were attacked after they had already decided to turn back home,” admited DSP Kishor Kumar Shrestha. But the police is being criticised for arresting the victims instead of the attackers on that day. Eye-witnesses said they just stood around blowing their whistles, and not coming to the rescue of Nabaraj and his friends while they were being mercilessly beaten.
They watched as the bodies were thrown into the water. Nabaraj’s body was found at 8PM downstream. When his son’s body was brought to Ranagaun, his father Munalal fainted, and he is still not all right.
“So many people chased us and beat us, but the police arrested us instead,” recalls Lal Bahadur Khadka, 17, who was also injured. According to Khadka, the police knew six people were missing, but did not bother to check up on them.
Sandesh Shahi looked for his brother, Gobinda, for ten days until they finally found his decomposed body 30km downstream. “Divers from the APF were there, and they did look around but not very carefully,” said Shahi. He says the police did not accurately record the condition of the corpses.
One of Nabaraj’s friend’s corpse was tied with a rope, and it had a broken hand, but the police report did not mention this. Other bodies had severe injuries like broken necks, hand and legs, facial damage, and their lungs showed signs they were dead before being dumped in the water. The police did not record these either.
The second day after the murders at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Shahi pulled Tikaram Sunar’s body from the river with blood coming out of his mouth, nose, and ear. These injuries were not mentioned in the police report.
The body of Lokendra Sunar was found 40km downstream with his hands tied behind his back on 30 May. But, the police record said the hands had been caught in a fishing net. The last body that was discovered was of Gobinda Shahi, who had been killed, buried, exhumed again and then dumped into the river.
“Gobinda did not have any teeth left, his forehead, and nose were cut, and his neck was broken. After seeing the condition of the body, they buried the body. But suspecting that he may be discovered they dug it up again and threw it into the river,” said his brother Sandesh Shahi.