Struggles Of Families of Enforced Disappeared Persons: Neither Confirmed Living Nor Bodies Found
It has been 20 years since Bipin Kumar KC of Ramechhap’s former Betali Village Development Commitee-8 Haluwa, now Gokulganga Rural Municipality-4, went missing. Nothing has been heard back from him yet. The family members have not been able to get to confirm is he is dead or alive.
Born in 1980, Bipin spent nine months as a cadre in CPN Maoist. Bipin fell ill while participating in the Maoist fight. After falling ill, he returned home.
During the armed conflict, he couldn’t stay at home. There was insecurity all over Nepal. So the family sent him to India for treatment. Bipin returned to his home after a long treatment in India.
After Bipin left the CPN Maoist’s armed movement, KC’s family faced a double whammy. The Maoist used to pressure Bipin to return to being to take arms and fight. The National Security Personnel used to view KC’s family with suspicion. They were repeatedly interrogated and mentally tortured.
To escape from this fate, K.C.’s family sent him to Kathmandu. To generate some income, he opened a shop in Sinamangal.
Navin KC said, “There was no atmosphere to live at home, no one could tell which party of the armed conflict when would kill my brother, so he was sent to Kathmandu. I used to live in Manthali, so my brother also decided to stay with my other brother to study in Kathmandu.”
In June, mid-monsoon, Colleges in Kathmandu used to have extended holidays during mid-monsoon. There used to be a hassle in the village about planting paddy. So K.C.’s younger brother decided to travel to his village. Bipin was left alone in Kathmandu.
After his brother went home, kitchen and grocery responsibilities were on Bipin. He was busy looking after his shop and also living up to his household duties.
On the evening of 27 June 2003, Bipin closed his shop after the end of the day’s business. After closing the shop, he never returned to his shop the next day. He disappeared the same night. The family does not know the cause of the disappearance. However, his families and relatives suspect that he was enforced disappeared by the state security personnel.
On the morning of June 28, when he failed to open up his shop for the day, his family came to know of his disappearance. Naveen said, “All we know is that he closed the shop and bought some meat from a nearby shop, but whether he reached his residence or was abducted before is yet to be known”.
For a few days, the family was hopeful to see if he had gone somewhere on his own accord. But, he did not return nor did he contact his family. That’s when his family started searching for him. Naveen says, “We reported about his disappearance to the government agency, the police were informed, a request was made to the Human Rights Commission, no stones were left unturned, but nothing was found”.
Naveen said that the pain of missing a family member is greater than the pain of death. “It is impossible to not hope, that he will arrive someday. The families of those who were killed performed the ritual according to their customs, we were not even able to perform the ceremony, neither his breath was found, nor his body was found”, he said.
Navin still is hoping for his brother’s return, whenever he gets a call from a new number he gets his hope up thinking that his brother might have called him. Bipin’s father, Prem, always returns his calls from an unknown number hoping for his son’s news.
But no, so far, neither Bipin’s has contacted him nor any news about him has been heard. Time has only provided disappointment to the family who constantly hope for their son’s return. There is no ray of hope for the family, only a cloud of despair.
Now Naveen has given up on the hope of his brother’s return. But Bipin’s parents, Prem Kumar KC and Gopi Kumari KC, still are hopeful for their son’s return.
“We are slowly setting back to normal, but it is very difficult to take care of my parents, they are very traumatized”, Naveen says.
The pain of separation from a family member is greater during festivals than at any other time. At that time, it is very difficult for Naveen to handle his parents. The KC family has not been able to bear the pain of the disappearance of the eldest son of the family.
“Festivals are a period of grief for our family”, he said.
The family was hopeful that after the end of the conflict, there will be an investigation or a search conducted for their missing son. However, since the state is not taking any responsibility, they have given up on the state.
The compensation provided by the state hurt them instead of providing relief. Naveen said, ‘We are not looking for money, we are looking for justice, now justice is dead, everyone is forgiven, there is nothing left to say’.
- Nawaraj Pathik
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