Armed Conflict Took Away Mobility and Dreams
Ramachandra was preparing to go to his maternal home after Dashain Tika after visiting his sister, on October 2006. Krishna Gautam, best friend and a neighbor to Ramchandra was very close to him.
Krishna’s father Keshav Gautam, and uncle, Pushparaj Gautam, supported Maoist. The Maoist group used to leave their belongings in their homes during the armed conflict and visit his home frequently.
Ramachandra was in Krishna’s house when Pushparaj took out the white gunpowder, placed it in a tin box, and tried to set it on fire. It caught fire but did not explode; hence, they were convinced that it is not a bomb. As a curious 17-year-old, he kept the leftover gunpowder for the experiment.
Ramachandra, with the help of an iron stick, moved the suspicious object. A spark of fire appeared in the object, and the remaining explosives lit and exploded.
‘I was unconscious after that’, said Ramchandra. He was immediately taken to Manipal Teaching Hospital in Phulwari for treatment. The explosion at the scene took both of Ramchandra’s legs.
Ramchandra B.K, born in 1991, Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality-2 Sardikhola, was devastated by the incident. With a passion for sports and dancing, Ramchandra used to dream of becoming an artist in the future. However, the incident mascaraed his desire of being an artist.
He finally gained consciousness after 19 days of treatment. He woke up to both his legs missing. He fell while attempting to get up, becoming unconscious again. He realized that both knees were missing only after 2 or 3 days. He felt as if he had fallen off the cliff, and now his life was over. He altogether spent 13 months in the hospital. He had to be amputated nine times after cancer spread inside his bones while he was in a coma in Manipal for 19 days. Altogether Rs. 5, 00000 was spent on his treatment.
During his time in the hospital, he even started questioning his existence. Ramchandra afterward was encouraged by Bhuvan Gurung, who was in worse condition and getting treatment at the same hospital. His wise words, “You can walk with a stick, but I need a wheelchair for support.” That statement motivated Ramchandra to live.
Ramchandra continued his studies after treatment. Having difficulty walking, he requested an empty classroom at the school, stayed there to study, and pass his SLC. Likewise, he completed high school. He says his friends were supportive during his studies.
He says that his name was included in the Nepal Human Rights Year Book published by INSEC and that he has received support from numerous groups since his name was documented as a conflict victim. He also said that INSEC helped him with Rs. 5000 in 2010. He with other individuals with disabilities formed a committee and requested financial support from the Rural Municipality . ICRC provided them with Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 35,000. With financial support, he started his business mobile retail.
‘If the government identifies victims and provides them with low-interest loans, the victims can earn a living by doing business, says Ramchandra. He got his disability identification card in 2020. In 2011, he received Rs. 100, 0000 from the government.
He currently receives a monthly living allowance of Rs. 18,000. Ramchandra, who walks with the assistance of an artificial leg, must have his leg replaced every four to five years. It will most likely cost him Rs. 2, 50,000. He complains that the ICRC assisted him with the legs initially, but now he has to replace them on his own. Despite his artificial legs, he is always ready to dance whenever a song is played.
- Renuka B.K
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