The achievement of historical people’s movement is yet to bring smiles to the faces of some families of Jogimara of Dhading district. It is a case of justice delayed is justice denied for the families from down-trodden Chepang and other marginalized communities of Jogimara who lost their seventeen relatives in Kalikot five years back. Some Legal experts say lacuna of specific law pertaining to impunity in reference to the humanitarian law in Nepalis promoting the judicial injustice to such people.
Security forces had killed seventeen innocent laborers at the Kot-bada Sunthali airport construction site in Kalikot in 2001(2058-11-12 B.S.) Security personnel had claimed that they were Maoists retreating after an assault in nearby Dailekh district. Their family members could not even cremate their dear ones. The ordeal has left deep scars on their psyche while their orphans are left languishing. In the changed political scenario, they are expecting some relief but they are gripped by pessimism since no sign of compensation are seen around them.
Dil Kumari Thapamagar, an adult lady who is in the capital in search of justice says-‘justice for poor is very expensive, we are wandering here and there for justice but nothing we got.’ She says her family is laid down in excessive poverty after she lost the head of the family.
Likewise, Gyan Bahadur BK, who lost his two sons Tek Bahadur and Sanukanchha at once, is also suffering with intolerable pain. The problem of livelihood is not a problem of one or two families, but all the families of those victims are confronting the common problems.
Those slain include Tilu Praja, Dilla Praja, Sher Bahadur Praja, Kumle Praja, Rama Bahadur Praja, Bikas Praja, Kshrange Praja, Dhruba Bahadur Praja, Tek Bahadur BK, Sanu Kanchha BK, Tek Bahadur BK, Tek Bahadur Gurung, Gokarna Gurung, Raj Kumar BK, Bhim Bahadur Thapa Magar, Gyan Bahadur Thapa Magar and Manju Thapa Magar.
According to Tilak Bahadur Chepang, of the Chepang Association of Dhading, they had sought compensation from the very beginning of the incident, but to no avail. He says that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had ordered to furnish the details of the incident to security bodies, but they didn’t respond.
Former justice Laxman Prasad Aryal says that such incidents may recur as there is no specific law pertaining to impunity in Nepal. He says, “We lack the specific laws pertaining to such cases. The intention is the major thing. If one’s heart is clean and open and he is sensitive to human grief, the people like of Jogimara can enjoy justice.” He expects that they may get justice in the changed political context of Nepal.
In reference to the problems of those victimized people, Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi says going by the track record of the ruling political parties, he is not fully assured about adequate compensation to the victimized families. He suspects upon the intention of ruling parties, “Some constituents of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) are still reluctant to the problems of such individuals. They lack the will power. We can not ensure ourselves that this government will not repeat the incidents of same kinds.”
Advocate Bhimarjun Acharya, who is pleading a writ on behalf of those victims, opines similar to that of Aryal. He says that unavailability of specific law pertaining to the impunity in reference to the violation of humanitarian law is promoting such cases. He is pleading on the case under article 88 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal1990. “We have legal provision to fight against the individual crime as the violation of human rights but we don’t have any law to combat with the violation of humanitarian law exercised by the state, if we do not promulgate new law in this regard, we will have to confront these sorts of problems again and again.” He adds.
Acharya says that he is waiting to see the final hearing of the case which is scheduled to take place after defenders furnish the cause for killings. The petitioners have claimed the compensatory relief to the victims’ families and promulgation of new law pertaining to impunity. But what will be the verdict of the Supreme Court, it is yet to be seen.
By Bigyan Sharma