Nepali jailed 40 years without trial in Kolkata
The mother of a Nepali man who has been languishing in a Kolkata jail without trial for the past 40 years has finally found out his whereabouts after efforts by journalists, lawyers and even amateur ham radio enthusiasts in India and Nepal.
Dipak Jaisi had been arrested in 1981 in Darjeeling and was moved to Dumdum Central Correctional Home near Kolkata 15 years ago, where a fire destroyed all records of inmates.
Himal Khabarpatrika reported Jaisi’s story on 10 November, said that there were no records of whether he had family in Nepal, and whether they knew what had become of him. Within a week of the story appearing online, Jaisi’s family in Mai Municipality of Ilam district in eastern Nepal read it and came forward.
Family members contacted the magazine on Tuesday and said that Dipak’s real name was Dupta Prasad Timsina, and he had gone to Darjeeling in 1981 and had not been heard from since.
It is now known that Dipak has a 81-year-old mother Dhanmaya, two younger brothers and two sisters. His father Champakhar Timsina is dead. His nephew Dilnath Phuyal is principal of Mahendra Ratna Campus in Ilam.
Dilnath was doing his PhD in Kolkata in 2008 when he heard that his uncle was in a jail there, but although he looked for him there were no leads. Last year, a Darjeeling based lawyer Gunjan Sherpa had found out about Dipak’s whereabouts and told the family about him.
“We are happy that he has been found, and now we will try to get him released and bring my uncle home,” said Dilnath Phuyal.
Dipak Jaisi, who is now about 62, left his home in Ilam to find work in Darjeeling, but was arrested for an unknown crime. No one bothered to take the court process forward, he was left in jail in Darjeeling and later for some reason was transferred to Kolkata. Meanwhile, Dipak’s family had moved to another town in Ilam, and his efforts to reach them failed.
The story only came out when Dipak’s fellow inmate Radheshyam Das was released from the same detention facility in Dum Dum, and he told lawyers in Kolkata about a Nepali man in jail without trial. Das had first informed the Nepal Consulate in Kolkata about Dipak, but says the mission did not show any interest.
Guilty until proven innocent, Kunda Dixit
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Then he approached ham radio operators at the West Bengal Radio Club which uses shortwave radio communications during disasters for information and relief. The Club’s Ambarish Das Biswas contacted ham radio contacts in Nepal, and then wrote to Nepal’s former Okhaldhunga High Court judge Bidur Bikram Thapa on 31 October to see if he could help trace Dipak’s family.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjeCc3WuYMY&feature=emb_logo
Thapa then initiated a process through his colleagues in the Indian judicial system to file a writ of habeas corpus in West Bengal to get Dipak home. Last week, Biswas met Dipak in jail, but kept getting the name of the town in Ilam where his parents earlier lived, and that drew a blank when local authorities looked for them.
“The Nepali Consulate in Kolkata knew about a citizen in jail, but did nothing,” Thapa said. “Why do we have a consulate at all? After all, we were not asking them to release Dipak, just to help find his family.”
''Insallah'', From the Nepali Press
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Kolkata lawyer Hirak Singh finally met Dipak twice last week, it was revealed that he might have been arrested on a murder charge. However, there are no documents to prove this since all evidence was destroyed in the fire. Singh is now trying to get jail records from Darjeeling.
Ilam-based writer Kedar Sharma played a major role in finally tracing Dipak’s family in Mai Municipality after tracking them from their earlier domicile. In Kolkata, Consul General Ishwar Raj Poudel said: “The mission is moving to meet Dipak in jail and get him released and send him home.”
Hirak Singh says years of incarceration have affected Dipak mentally, and he speculates that the reason he was not brought to trial could be because he was deemed to be of unsound mind. Singh is waiting for the papers to arrive from Darjeeling and move the high court for his release and eventual return to Nepal.
A long version of this story in Nepali is available at himalkhabar.com