In those days, the moment we turned on the radio, the only news we heard were of people killed in the conflict in different parts of Nepal. This discouraged me from paying attention to the radio. I was preparing rice and vegetables and heating some milk, while the radio was on in the background.
My husband was tending to our buffaloes. As I was heating some rice, I was wondering where the latest deaths would be reported from. Just then, my elder son arrived.
“Son, did you hear a few people died today? They were from Chitwan,” I said.
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That evening, we all went to bed feeling uneasy and upset about what was happening — the instability, violence and the news of death. As I was about to sleep, I felt sad wondering which parents had lost their children that day, and worried. Only the next day did I find out it was my own son, Krishna.
The next day Ramprasad Adhikari came to our house at around 10:00 am. He was not just our neighbour, but also a close relative. He had come in on a night bus from Chitwan the previous night. He walked straight to our house. “Aunty, Krishna got into a bus accident. He is in Bharatpur Hospital, we need go to Chitwan immediately.”
It felt like the ground had swallowed me up. My world turned upside down at that moment, and everything seemed blurred. I started crying uncontrollably. My husband was in the house at the time, he collapsed on the floor when he heard the news.
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My elder son, unable to process this news, was frantically pacing around. Our once peaceful home now felt like a storm had uprooted us.
We were informed about our son, but had no idea it was his murderer who gave us the news. My husband decided to leave immediately for Chitwan to see our son in hospital.
“Son, you take care of your mother. I will go and find out what happened,” my husband told him, his fragile frame trembling.
Throughout their journey, my husband later said, Ramprasad was constantly getting calls. Maybe the caller was asking him about their whereabouts.
He also told the person at the other end: “The mother is not in a good state, the elder son is extremely distressed.”
“Who is calling you like this, asking you about the details?” asked my husband.
“It’s Januka Didi,” he replied without thinking.
Januka Poudel was Chhabilal’s niece. Just like her uncle, she too had joined the Maoists. We heard that she was a guerrilla commander. But even till that point, we never suspected the two of being involved in our son’s murder.
Since Ramprasad was constantly getting calls from her, my husband started getting suspicious. But he told himself our son had just been injured and that would be fine soon. But when the two reached Bharatpur Hospital, Ramprasad abruptly informed my husband: “Uncle, brother passed away.”
My husband fainted upon hearing these words. The post-mortem had already been done. His lifeless body had been prepared for cremation, and they had also arranged for all the legal documents stating he was our son and that my husband claimed him for final rites. It was strange that all these steps had already been taken the day before.
The body was taken to the banks of a river, ready for cremation. But just when my husband was about to cremate him, he noticed there was blood flowing from what looked like several gunshot wounds on Krishna’s head. He also noticed Krishna’s hands and legs were dangling. They not only shot our son in the head, but had also beaten him mercilessly with a rod, breaking his limbs.
“I was told my son died in a bus accident. How can he have gunshot wounds to his head if he died in an accident?” he screamed at Ramprasad, and everyone else present.
No one uttered a single word. The cremation took place quietly, while the question kept burning in his mind.
He returned home the next day. I was desperately waiting for him, thinking that even though Krishna was injured, my husband would bring him back home. But I saw him approach alone with a disheartened look, and knew.
“They killed our son,” he said simply. “But don’t you cry. It will just give even more joy to our enemies.”
Hunger for justice, Makenzie Stallo
“How many times do we need to share our story?”, Seulki Lee