Families of Disappeared Persons Wait for Answers
Ramesh Prasad Timalsina
Pale face. Faint voice. Tearful eyes. It has been long since they are knocking the doors of human rights organizations in the capital with a faint hope. The prime time of their life has been spent knocking the doors of governmental bodies and are still they are pinning their hope on the rights activists, with the faint hope of getting justice. The questions like why, where and how arise inside them. Issues as family tension, worry of educating and bringing up their children are there; still they are doing their best to find out about their disappeared relatives.
These are the daily routine and the worry of the families of 934 people like Cham Kumari Basnet of Baglung whose loved ones were disappeared by the state and the Maoists during the conflict. Why our relatives were disappeared? Where were they taken? In which situation they are in? How and who will make it public? These are some of the questions haunting them all the time. Our questions remain unanswered, says Jagannath Subedi, father of one disappeared person, Deepak Subedi of Kewalpur VDC-6, in Dhading. We still get goose bumps when I remember the night when our loved ones, sleeping under the same roof, were abducted, arrested and disappeared by either of the conflict parties, says Dhana Kumari Tharu of Rupandehi who says that she is tired of knocking the doors of organization and governmental bodies to find the whereabouts of husband. Her husband was disappeared by the state on August 27, 2005. After that, there is no information about his situation.
According to the INSEC’s data, 934 people were the victims of enforced disappearance at the hand of the state and the rebels during the conflict. NHRC recorded that 809 people were disappeared by the State, 227 by Maoists whereas 127 by unidentified groups. On August 30, 2012, ICRC stated that total of 1,401 people were disappeared during the armed conflict.
“The dead bodies are identified and cremated, but we don’t have any information about the situation of our loved one”, Nawaraj Luitel of Naubise in Dhading says. “Our demand is either show their dead bodies or show them alive “. Luintel’s younger brother Hari Prasad Luitel has been made disappeared since 2003 September 2. Luintel further says that since Hari’s disappearance every ‘Bhai Tika’ or the festival of Brother’s Day has been filled with sorrow, grief and distress. Nepal Nagarkoti of Champi in Lalitpur is living through the same distress since then. He says, “Since 2003, every “Bhai Tika brings only with grief and sorrow, our happiness has been shattered by armed conflict”. His brother remains disappeared since September 2, 2002.” If someone knocks the door at night, I feel like my husband has come back”, says Kalpana Manandhar of Dhading.
Act of enforced disappearance has been defined as when a state or non-state agency arrests or abducts someone but fails to publicly acknowledge their detention.. The act of enforced disappearance was practiced in in Panchayat regime;however, it drastically increased after the armed conflict. It is pledged in 7-point agreement signed by the Maoists and the seven political parties and in Interim Constitution that they would be finding out the truth about the people who disappeared during the armed conflict and making them public. The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) signed between the Maoists and the government in November 21, 2006 has stated that whereabouts of the people disappeared during an armed conflict, by state or non-state, would be made public within 60 days. But, it has nearly been six years and neither state nor the Maoists are serious about it. The former rebels, , who has already been at the helm of the state many times, chose to disregard this matter while in contrary to their vowed commitment, their leadership has put a clause of blanket amnesty on” Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ordinance 2012″ and submitted it to the President for his approval.
The familiesof the disappeared people were in hope, especially after the CPA. They were quite happy knowing that they will learn about their disappeared loved ones . But six years have elapsed and the problem is intact. There was no happiness in the face of the families of the disappeared who came from different districts during the “Day of the Disappeared Persons ” to give pressure to the government. After the Ordinance is presented to the president for approval about giving blanket amnesty, they are worried about being denied of justice they have fought for so long.
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