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NEPAL: Government slowly killing Adhikari couple

NEPAL: Government slowly killing Adhikari couple

July 29, 2014

The fast-unto-death hunger strike of Nanda Prasad and Ganga Maya Adhikari, better known as the Adhikari couple, has reached 278 days and counting. Their only demand is an investigation and prosecution of those who killed their son, Krishna Prasad Adhikari. In other words, they demand justice.

Krishna Prasad was abducted and brutally murdered in June 2004 when visiting his grandparents in Chitwan District after his graduation examination. His relatives lodged a complaint with the Chitwan police, providing the names of the suspects. The AHRC has remained vocal and frequently urged the Nepal State to investigate and prosecute the murderers. However, the State has maintained its silence.

The couple is being kept alive at this time through intravenous protein drip, but their health is deteriorating. Their organs are working so far, but their bodies have become weak and skinny. The doctors treating the couple have warned about the risk of organ failure in both Nanda Prasad and Ganga Maya, which may occur at any time.

Though they are still alive, the couple does not have any energy left to reply to the few visitors they get these days. They just have a silent look to offer their visitors. They have been through an excruciating ordeal in the past 278 days, and their quest for justice is in danger of becoming an exercise in futility.

The relentless fight of the Adhikari couple has faded from the regular to-do checklist of civil society, human rights organizations, and the media; many of them have stopped talking about it altogether. Likewise, the State has been conspicuous in its wait and watch approach. It is this conspicuous inaction that is going to kill the old couple. The Nepal State is killing the couple slowly, every moment it delays and denies them justice.

With no willingness to provide justice and end the ordeal of the Adhikari couple, the Government of Nepal has shown just how responsive it is to its own citizens. And, it appears clueless what it may suffer if the Adhikaris die. Death of the couple, in these circumstances, will be a national and international shame for Nepal.

The couple is ready to die for justice; they are not going to step back a single inch. Their bodies look frail and their energy has drained, but their determination has only grown stronger.

Can there be justice for Nepalis in the absence of the rule of law and given the state of the criminal justice system? The edifice in place is simply an aid to the elite, the powerful, and the politicians. There is good reason why neither the present government nor any political party is supporting the couple and their demands, which is essentially a demand for justice for ordinary citizens.

The transitional justice law promulgated is a farce. What victims and their families need is justice, which, it appears, the powers that be want to have nothing to do with.


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