Nepali Times Asian Paints
Nation
The disappeared and the disquiet of those left behind


ROBERT GODDEN


PICS: NAYANTARA GURUNG KAKSHAPATI
Every few months, Purnimaya visits the family home in Dapcha, which is now locked up as she lives in Kathmandu with her children. Though Purnimaya's campaign for truth and justice has been met by threats from Maoist party cadres, she says she would like to return to live in the village some day.
You do not have to talk with Purnimaya Lama for long to understand why she campaigns with such determination to uncover the truth about the abduction of her husband, Arjun. It's easy to sympathise with her frustration and anger at the stalled police investigation. And to hear her talk of the plans she and Arjun had for the future raises the hope that reparations could help her family build a better life in years to come.

Too often those of us working on conflict-related disappearances here in Nepal fail to focus on these personal stories, getting lost in human rights terminology that can feel clinical. Our focus is understandably on documentation for police investigations, prosecutions in courts, and commissions of inquiry. But in much of our reporting we dilute what it means to have lost a loved one. Without their voices, how can we empathise with them, whose lives could so easily have been ours?

The 2005 abduction of Purnimaya Lama's husband, Arjun, has been covered in the media. Accounts tell of how Maoist cadres took Arjun while he was attending a ceremony to celebrate his election as president of a local school in Kavre district. The case has become notorious because UCPN(M) CA member Agni Sapkota was named in the First Information Report filed. But police have failed to give an adequate explanation of why they are yet to arrest Sapkota or any of the others accused.

Purnimaya is not alone in losing a loved one to either side during the conflict. There are thousands of similar stories across Nepal. To add insult to injury, the police have failed to bring any of those accused before a court, the Nepal Army actively blocks investigations, and political leaders fail to deliver on promises committed to.

The International Day of the Disappeared is a reminder that the pursuit of peace means not only the end of grave human rights abuses but also peace for those left behind. That requires delivering on their individual needs for truth, justice and reparations.

Robert Godden is Asia-Pacific Campaign Coordinator for Amnesty International.

Purnimaya visits the newly appointed Kavre CDO to introduce herself and brief him on her husband's pending case. Earlier the same day, she visited the office of the Kavre DSP to follow up on paperwork related to the exhumation of her husband's body. She was told to go to the human rights cell at police headquarters. Purnimaya has spent five years going from one office to another to push for justice and reparations.


READ ALSO:
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Same road, SRIJANA ACHARYA
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1. MallaB
Why blame only theĀ  army for blocking the investigations? Army is army all over the world. George Bush or the Americans never allow their army to be investigated; take the Iraq case.
How about the great leveler and democrat Prachanda; he has blocked investigation on the war criminal Agni Sapko ta,or not? How about Kham, murderer of Ram Hari Shrestha, Prachanda Bika and many of his gangsters.
Army's was during war, but Prachanda's is during peace. Is there no diffwrence.?


2. Gole
What is the difference between Prachanda and Osama bin Laden/ Who is going to bell this cat/ it applies to the missing ones thru' the Army too.
Nayya napaye Gorkha kaile janeho/
Gorkha abhi door hai.
DISGRACE TO THE GREAT NATION OF THE GURKHAS!

Let women,s organization make the last move to give justice to PURNIMAYA.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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