NEPAL: Adhikari Couple in Critical Condition
NEPAL: Adhikari Couple in Critical Condition
The health of Mr. Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Mrs. Ganga Maya Adhikari, parents to a murdered son, Krishna Prasad Adhikari, is deteriorating rapidly. According to doctors at Bir Hospital, having resumed their hunger strike from their hospital beds, the Adhikari couple are now in critical condition.
Maoist cadre allegedly killed Krishna Prasad Adhikari in 2004. Krishna was visiting his grandparents in Jaimangala village, Chitwan district, when Maoists suspected him to be a spy of the Nepal Army. Krishna was subsequently abducted and killed. Krishna's relatives lodged a complaint against the murderers. But, police inaction, and political intervention to prevent investigation, have resulted in continued impunity for Krishna's murderers. Krishna's family has been protesting state inaction, now in its 9th year.
Fed up with the Nepali state for stalling justice in the case of their son's murder, a case that is symptomatic of justice denied to thousands of families who lost lives in Nepal's brutal civil war, the Adhikari couple has been on hunger strike for over 4 months now.
The protesting couple demand justice. They demand that the state punish those who murdered their son, Krishna, who went to Chitwan to visit his grandparents and never returned.
On 30 September 2013, the Adhikari couple broke their fast-unto-death hunger strike, because the Nepal government had agreed to address their demands. However, they resumed it again after Mr. Ram Prasad Adhikari – one of the murder accused – was released.
Ram was caught by the police on 29 September 2013, but was released after 10 days, due to 'lack of evidence' in the case. The Government Lawyers Office refused to register a case against Ram, citing lack of evidence of his involvement in the murder.
Another recent development has been the arrest of Mr. Parshuram Adhikari on 7 December. The police arrested Parshuram on the charge of murdering Krishna. The single bench of Justice Binod Mohan Acharya, District Court Chitwan, remanded Parshuram to 12 days judicial custody. The judge ordered the police to complete the investigation into Krishna's murder, as the nation still lacks a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to handle such cases. The Nepal National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Nepal government have also suggested that the police continue the investigation process.
On the other hand, Mr. Baburam Bhattarai, the ex-Prime Minister and leader of the Maoist Party, opposed the arrest of Parshuram, who is also a Maoist. Bhattarai challenged the government to arrest him instead. Earlier, both Maoist Chairperson Prachanda and Bhattarai had challenged the government to arrest them when Ram Prasad Adhikari was arrested on 29 September 2013.
The Maoist leaders are of the opinion that arrest of Maoist cadre for insurgency-related incidents will jeopardize the nation's peace process. They claim that it is against the mandate of the Nepali police to conduct such investigations. Mr. Bhattarai has requested the government to form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for investigating cases related to incidents during Nepal's civil war.
The AHRC wishes to note the history of the attempts by Maoists to protect the crimes of their leaders. While in Krishna's case the Maoists have been calling for investigation through a TRC, in cases involving Maoist leaders, they sought Presidential pardon. For example, in the case of senior Maoist leader Bal Krishna Dhungel, the Maoists sought and obtained Presidential pardon after Dhungel was convicted for murder committed during the insurgency.
There are yet other Maoists politicians, such as Mr. Agni Sapkota, spokesperson of the Maoist party, whose history of human rights violations are well documented. Such leaders are roaming free. Sapkota faces criminal investigation for alleged involvement in the forced disappearance and murder of schoolteacher Arjun Lama during the conflict period.
The NHRC has expressed its serious concern on the case involving Krisna's murder, ordering the state to complete its investigation and ordering that the state protect the lives of Krishna's parents, Mr. Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Mrs. Ganga Maya Adhikari.
Having resumed their hunger strike again, the health of the Adhikari couple is critical. It is deteriorating day by day. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the civil society of Nepal, and the NHRC have been repeatedly urging the government to investigate the case and provide justice and compensation.
However, the government is silent, having put oil into its ears. The AHRC has disseminated Urgent Appeals and provided updates on this case. The AHRC also sent an open letter (accessible here) to Khil Raj Regmi, Chairman of Council of Ministers on 3 September 2013.
The AHRC would like to remind the government that it agreed to begin investigating Krishna's murder and to provide compensation, rehabilitation, and security for the Adhikari couple in September 2013. The AHRC urges the government to be true to its word. The state needs to ensure swift investigation into Krishna's murder and save the lives of his aged parents.