Cries for justice in Nepal: Conflict victims protest in front of the Supreme Court

Victims of war-era crimes have united to exert pressure on the state institutions to deliver justice on extra-judicial killings. Meanwhile, the government is preparing to endorse a law that can provide amnesty to even those involved in murder.

Kalpana Ghimire

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu:  ‘Where is justice? Nanda Prasad Adhikari’s body lies in box number 4 in Teaching Hospital,’ read the banner she was holding. She was clad in white t-shirt on  which photos of Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Krishna Prasad Adhikari were printed.

The woman with the banner is Ganga Maya Adhikari, who hails from Phujel of Gorkha district.

For the last 19 years, she has been demanding that the people who murdered her son Krishna Prasad Adhikari be brought to book.

The protest was taking place at a time when the hearing on the case against Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda was expected. Prachanda faces a court trial over his remark that he would take responsibility for the 5000 deaths during the insurgency, out of total 17000 which were killed by the rebels as well as the state forces during the decade-long armed conflict.

 Adhikari’s demand was that the person who murdered her son be hanged.

“What crime had my son, who was an innocent child, committed? He had just taken his SLC exam. But he was killed. If they killed my son, why can’t I demand execution of his killer?” She said that she would perform the last rites of her dead husband only after the murderer of her son is given the death penalty. “When the murderer is hanged in Tudikhel, I will cremate the dead body of my husband,” she said. 

Krishna Prasad, her son, was only 17 when he was killed by the Maoists on Jeth 24, 2061. The Adhikari couple, Ganga Maya and Nanda Prasad, started a fast-unto-death protest from Kartik 2070, demanding justice. On the 334th day of the protest, on September 22, 2014, Nanda Prasad Adhikari died.

His body is yet to be cremated. It lies in Box No 4 inside the morgue at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

Ganga Maya was not alone in demanding justice. Gyan Bahadur Bista from Kailali was there demanding justice for his wife, who had been killed in 2059. Gyan Bahadur ran a sweet shop named ‘Bista Sweet House.’ One day, while his wife was alone in the shop, the Maoists barged into the shop and looted money. “They asked my wife to either send your son to become a Maoist fighter or you become one,” they said to my wife,” Bista recalled the incident. “My wife said she cannot send the son as he is too young, then they beat her up and looted Rs 40,000 from her,” he continued. “Fifteen days later, they came again to the shop while my son was alone there, looted the goods and beat him black and blue.”

One month later, there was a cross firing in front of the shop. Gyan Bahadur’s wife was shot dead.

 Shankar Budhathoki, the lawyer who filed a writ petition against the PM, demanded that the law should be equal to all–from the commoner to Prime Minister to President. “Law is equal for all. The PM said in a public program that he would take responsibility for 5000 deaths. When he admitted it, it was his first testimony,” said Budhathoki.

If the Supreme Court does not resolve the case, he said, he would file a writ against the PM in the international court.

Victims of the decade-long armed conflict have come together demanding justice in Kathmandu. Meanwhile, the government led by Prachanda, who led the insurgency, is preparing to authenticate a law that the victims claim can provide amnesty to even those involved in heinous crimes such as murder.