Martyrdom for victims perpetuates impunity

- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu

Jan 25, 2016-

As leaders of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha visited the National Human Rights Commission on Sunday to hand over a memo demanding probe into violence reported during the Madhes agitation, an all-party meeting in Morang decided to name three people killed in Rangeli as martyrs.

Draupadi Devi Chau-dhary, Shibu Majhi and Mahadev Rishidev—died in police firing on Thursday. The government has already agreed to declare others who died in clashes during the five-month long Madhes movement as martyrs. The declaration may have addressed the political demands of some but it has let the perpetrators off the hook. “If the government acknowledges that the deceased was not a criminal by announcing him/her as martyr, then the crime was committed from the other side,” said rights lawyer Santosh Sigdel. 

“The law enforcement agencies should book the culprits or else it gives a rise to the culture of impunity,” he added.

At least 54 people, including 11 security personnel, have been killed in the Tarai unrest so far. Police have interrogated two dozen individuals in connection with the Tikapur incident in Kailali but no security official has been held responsible for extra-judicial killings so far.

On Sunday, the delegates demanded the rights violators be charged with criminal offence. All the three persons killed on Thursday received bullets above waist, which is against the Local Administration Act-2008. The law specifies that security personnel can shoot at suspected criminals or law violators below the knee. 

“We are committed to human rights,” said DIG Kamal Singh Bam. “Once we have our report ready, we will take action against those involved in rights violation.”

Nepal Police has taken action against 633 police personnel since 1995. According to the human rights unit of Nepal Police, two Additional Inspector Generals, one Deputy Inspector General, nine Senior Superintendents of Police, eight Superintendents of Police, 16 Deputy Superintendents of Police and 57 inspectors faced action on rights violation charges. 

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Vice-chairman Hridayesh Tripathi, Sadbhawana Party Co-chairman Laxman Lal Karna, Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party senior leader Ram Naresh Raya and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal Chief Whip Shivaji Yadav had reached the NHRC office in Kathmandu to meet the commissioners.

NHRC Chairman Anup Raj Sharma told them that the government should be sensitive about the situation in the plains.

The government has not implemented the recommendations made by the national rights body for action against rights violators. 

In its 14-year history, the NHRC has investigated and recommended 735 cases of grave human rights violation for action. However, only 105 recommendations were implemented—all of them related to providing compensation for the victims.

The Human Rights Watch has documented cases of rights violations. The NHRC in its Tarai report also listed the police excesses.

Published: 25-01-2016 09:08

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