J B Pun
* It was still dark when the bus, carrying passengers to Kathmandu to celebrate Eid, started burning. Those who were awake were saved, but five, including eight-year-old Kajol Khatun died in the fire. When asked about this incident to the then Maoist district committee member and present district secretary Ghanashyam Dahal, he calls it a ‘small weakness’ in their part to have not taken action against the perpetrators. After much pressure an investigation committee was formed to look into the case. One of the four suspects was Keshab Rimal, who was then Maoists’ east Chitwan in-charge. Three months later Rimal was killed in a battle. He was blamed for masterminding the bus-burning and others were let go.
* The UN’s OHCHR report has revealed that more than 200 people were detained and disappeared by the state in Bardiya during the war years. Of this 153 were disappeared by the army and 14 by the Maoists who were all innocent. Of those who were killed or disappeared, majorities were Tharus and it is clear that the state specifically targeted them. Army officers who were with Ranasur Company, which became notorious for its use of torture to interrogate detainees during the war years were let go. Major Ajit Thapa, who was the Company in-charge then was later promoted to lieutenant colonel and was even given an environment award. Similarly no action was taken against Captain Ramesh Swar, who has now left Nepal Army and is working with the US Army in Afghanistan.
* In July 2006 Sapana Gurung of Jhapa Belbari was raped and killed. Fifteen men, working under Nepal Army Captain Pralad Thapa Magar were accused. When locals surrounded the post the following day in protest, six more were shot dead. No action was ever taken against the accused. Instead, Commander Pawan Pandey sent a false report to the headquarters saying that the six were killed in a Maoist ambush. Ironically, when a committee to investigation and court-marshal the accused was formed, Pandey was made the head of the fact-finding committee.* On 8 August 2006, Maoist leader Devendra Paudel told the victims of the Madi bomb blast that the main culprits Sujan and Sahas have fled, while the other two, Kisan and Harka are in Maoist captivity. At the time of the incident, Sahas was Maoist district member in Chitwan and Sujan commander of the special task force in Chitwan. Sources claim that Sahas and Sujan were kept hidden by the party. Kisan still serves as the coordinator of Chitwan’s All Nepal Trade Union Federation and Harka remains the chief of a Maoist affiliated farmers’ union.
* Maina Sunar’s killer Amit Pun came back with a degree in Human Rights from the UK last year. He was promoted from captain to major instead of being put under close investigation. Captain Sunil also received a promotion and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. On 19 February 2004, 15 men dressed as Nepal Army took Maina Sunar captive, torturing her to death. After much international and national pressure the perpetrators admitted to the crime. On 21 April 2004, three of them were taken for a court martial. They were issued a six-month prison sentence which they never served.* Reporter Birendra Sah was abducted and killed in October 2007. His perpetrator Kundan Phoujadar of Tharuwan Mukti Morcha, then district chief was ‘awarded’ for murdering Sah and was made the chair of Brijeshwor High School management committee in Bara.
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