Housewivese Sarita Sharma and Tara Bhandari and student leader Bina Magar (from left to right in pictures) still bear the scars of army detention and torture. Many others with them in Bhairabnath have disappeared. The three live with the physical pain and memories of their incarceration.
On 20 December 2003, Bina was dropped off the back of a crowded truck because there was not enough room. She was lucky, till today no one knows where the other people were taken or what happened to them. Bina still suffers from the after-effects of the torture. She was repeatedly dunked in icy water in November and December and has severe sinus trouble. Doctors recommend surgery, but Bina is under heavy medication. She feels uneasy and becomes restless and anxious in the evenings.
Tara Bhandari, a native of Nagarkot, was arrested on 29 October 2003 from Kalimati. She still suffers severely from the torture. She keeps up a constant nervous chatter, her body swells up, her skin burns, and she cannot hear properly. A wound on her elbow, the result of repeated electrocution hasn't yet healed properly.
"Anything I eat or drink, even water, makes my body swell up," says Tara. Doctors suspect she also has psoriasis. Bhandari has to take strong medications three times a day, and has severe sideeffects.
Sarita Sharma was in Bhairabnath for 21 months. The younger of her two sons was just two years old when Sarita, now a librarian at Universal College, was taken into custody. Doctors at Teaching Hospital suspect she has intestinal cancer. Meanwhile Sarita is still on medication to treat the physical and mental effects of her stay at Bhairabnath. But, she says, as much as the physical pain and discomfort, she feels the social stigma is attached to women like her. "Many people dismiss my views with a simple 'why should I talk to someone who has spent so many years in army custody'," explains Sarita.
These three are the tip of the iceberg, and the lucky ones, who survived Bhairabnath. The list of women tortured and still suffering is long.