Beni remembers devastating attack

Beni remembers devastating attack

Mar 21, 2015-

Eleven years after the deadly Beni attack, some government offices on the banks of the Myagdi river still have watchtowers on their rooftops.

These sentry posts built during the Maoist insurgency remind the locals of the dreadful night of March 20, 2004, when 19 civilians, 17 police and 14 Army personnel died, besides the 90 rebels who lost their lives too.

The Beni offensive was one of the biggest launched by then rebel Maoists during their decade-long war with state security forces.

The local Peace Committee organised a rally on Saturday in memory of those killed in the crossfire. People from all walks of life including party cadres, government officials and security personnel attended the rally. The Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN Maoist, however, did not send representatives to the programme.

Krishnalal Shrestha, who lost a leg in the attack, inaugurated journalist Amar Baniya’s photo exhibition.

“Not only were people killed, injured and maimed in the attack, children were made orphans, women lost their husbands while old people were left without any support. All of them despise the war,” said Shrestha. He complained that he is still deprived of relief though others have got it from the government. “I visit the District Administration Office every month, to no avail. There is nobody to speak for me.”

Baniya said the tragic night cannot be forgotten regardless of the reasons behind it. Lalu Kishan, a Maoist guerilla who participated in the battle, said, “I carried weapons and fought for a change. But I don’t want to return to the bitter past.”

He said he had no desire to be involved in another conflict even though he shares political views with Chand, a commissar during the attack who has recently formed a hard-line Maoist outfit.

A report drafted by the District Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Committee estimates that property worth Rs170 million was lost in the form of buildings alone.

The report, however, does not calculate other losses.

The government has already spent Rs34 million on reconstruction.

Published: 22-03-2015 07:52

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