Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
The Himals as witness

BLOOD SOAKED TERRACE: The cover of Himal Khabarpatrika in 2002 showing Muktinath Adhikari's body, and the same spot last week
It was just past 1pm on 16 January 2002. Muktinath Adhikari was teaching science to Grade 9 students at the Pandini Sanskrit Secondary School in Duradanda of Lamjung district.

Members of the Maoist Lamjung District Committee forcibly took Adhikari away despite protests from his students. They dragged him half an hour up the slope, and villagers who went up in the evening found his body tied to an uttis tree. The Maoists had said the body was booby-trapped, so the villagers lit a fire and kept an all-night vigil.

Muktinath Adhikari's son, Suman, walks up to the spot where his father was killed in 2002.
Muktinath Sir's son, Suman, retraced his father's last journey last week. We stood in a semi-circle to pay silent tribute to the man who has come to represent all innocent Nepalis who were murdered during the war. The snow-capped mountains of central Nepal stood like sentries around the spot where Muktinath was killed. On one side were Manaslu, Himalchuli and the mountain that Dr Harka Gurung named Ngadi Chuli. Across were Lamjung Himal, Machapuchre and the Annapurnas, all standing witness to murders no one wants to talk about because of terror and confusion. But the mountains won't let us forget what happened.

The war was at its peak in 2002, there were targeted killings, beheadings, torture. Horrific photographs of maimed victims and mutilated corpses were passed around, but they were too gory to be printed in the media. The photograph of Muktinath Adhikari's body tied to a tree in which he is seemingly asleep was printed on the cover of Himal Khabarpatrika two weeks after his death. Even though there is no blood visible, the photograph shocked the nation and exposed the Maoist policy of executing civilians.

Nine years later, there is still fear in these mountains of central Nepal. In the absence of transitional justice, the fragility of the peace process and the apathy of the intellectuals in the capital, the villagers don't dare speak out. Everyone knows who killed Muktinath Adhikari, but no one dares to come forward to lodge a complaint. The anniversary of Muktinath Sir's murder used to be marked in a small classroom in Kathmandu's Padma Kanya College, attended only by relatives and friends. It has taken nine years for the anniversary to be marked in Duradanda itself.

Muktinath Adhikari's wife, Indira, at the commemoration ceremony at the school where her husband was taken away from nine years ago.
At the ceremony, Muktinath Sir's friend, Thakur Prasad Tiwari got up to speak, but couldn't continue. He sat down again, weeping inconsolably. Nearby, Muktinath Adhkiari's wife, Indira, wiped away tears with her shawl. A few months before he was killed, Muktinath Sir had refused to pay a part of his Dasain bonus to the Maoists, saying: "I won't give you money to buy bullets." This expression of defiance and independence was unacceptable to the local commissar. Throughout Lamjung there were similar executions of teachers, social workers and ordinary citizens: Kedar Ghimire was killed just three days after Muktinath, Arjun Ghimire had nails hammered into his ankle and was told to walk. When he couldn't, he was killed. Both are said to have been killed by the Maoist unit that murdered Muktinath Sir. Also killed were health worker Chin Bahadur Thapa, Mohan Singh Ghimire, Nanda Jung Gurung, Tilak Raj Pandey, trader Mohan Lal Shrestha was bludgeoned to death because the Maoists said they wanted to save a bullet. Teachers Srikrishna Ghimire and Rishi Ram Koirala and Shanti Bohara all had their limbs crushed.

Mao Zedong was against torturing civilians. India's Naxalites did not do targeted killings. Only Nepal's Maoist leadership used the execution of civilians to spread terror and extend control. In an interview with the BBC Nepali Service in 2006 Pushpa Kamal Dahal said his instruction to his cadre was to "eliminate without torture". He repeated this at a meeting with senior editors in Shanker Hotel that year, saying he laid down the rule that executions should be "with a bullet to the temple".

Adhikari's portrait at a ninth anniversary tribute on 16 January in the school where he taught in Lamjung.
After viewing a photo exhibition in Gorkha in 2008 that contained the picture of Muktinath Adhikari, Baburam Bhattarai wrote in the guest book: 'Violence has a political and class character. To forget this and to analyse violence from an apolitical or non-class standpoint is not useful.'

There will come a day when the orphans of Nepal's war will ask Bhattarai: "How was the murder of Muktinath Adhikari class-based or political?' Only Muktinath Adhikari's family members have the right to forgive his murderers.

The Maoist victims of state violence will also not get justice if the process required to bring Muktinath Sir's murders to the court is not pursued.

It is unlikely that the Maoists will allow a genuine Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be put in place, hence the importance of keeping the door of the courts open for the legal investigative procedures. Unfortunately, recent Supreme Court decision seems to have been locked for legal recourse for the victims of state and Maoist violence, including the cases of Maina Sunar, Bardiya, Bhairabnath, Kajol Khatun, Diramba, Arjuna Lama and Maadi.

Back in Lamjung, Ekraj BK who was killed by the security forces and the disappearance of his two Maoist colleagues are cases which will also not see justice if the courts are disallowed their roles in pursuing excess committed during the conflict.

"There is a lot still left to do"
We know we can do it
Prachanda trial by fire
The politics of memory

1. PS
Arthur ji, please justify these actions of Maoists. 

2. who cares
for me, maina sunar was the most gruesome case of the war until female maoist attacked miss nepal organizers and female ycl attacking female youth force member. 

after those incidents, i lost all my pity for female maoist too.

muktinath adhikari is the true face of maoist, the scariest known murder. i blame HR agents, civil society members supporting maoist for that murder. 

why people who cant even protect the life of the people, property of the people want to be in power, want to get back into the powe? they simply dont have dignity.

most of the people killed by maoist are public who had nothing to do with the war, and those who were killed by the security forces are all turned out to be maoist. so i dont see any fault of security force except threatening public, looting public, and unable to provide security.

that is the way to fight terrorism, why are people complaining?

there is ample proof of puspa's involvement in war crimes, his orders, speech etc and still he in not standing in front of international court. 

ps: mr.dixit needs to tell his employees to respect freedom of speech.

1. PS: for arthur this is just a propaganda. 

3. jange

Nine years later, there is still fear in these mountains of central Nepal.

And yet we had an election during this period which you considered to be "free and fair".�

'Violence has a political and class character. To forget this and to analyse violence from an apolitical or non-class standpoint is not useful.'

But surely Kanak Mani Dixit supported this concept when he supported the seven party alliance? You have already compromised your principles by carrying the Maoists' political agenda. This is like the guy who condemns a bank robbery but is quite happy to spend the money that was robbed from the bank.

Only Muktinath Adhikari's family members have the right to forgive his murderers.

No. Murder is a crime against the state and it is the state that decides whether to prosecute and whether to forgive the criminal. Whether his family members forgive the Maoists or not is immaterial. In Sharia law it is as you have suggested but we do not follow Sharia Law in Nepal. Unfortunately the Maoists have not only been forgiven but lauded and praised and rewarded by people like you who treated the Maoists as "revolutionaries". The seven party alliance, the 12 point agreement and following the Maoist political agenda is ample proof that the Maoists have not only been forgiven but hat you are grateful to them for bringing about the political changes that you wanted but were unable to achieve with normal, peaceful politics.

4. jange

This was one murder out of the thousands of murders committed by the Maoists. Is Kanak saying that this murder was a crime and should be punished while all the others were correct?

The Maoists are proud of the fact that they murdered Muktinath as shown by the comments of Baburam Bhattarai given in the article.�

It is time to come clean Kanak. �Are the �murders done by the Maoists justified? If so, then the murder of Muktinath was also justified and there is no more to be said about it.

Are the murders done by the Maoists a crime? If so, then the perpetraters should be punished.

Are only some of the murders done by the Maoists crimes and others justified? If so, then we need to which ones are crimes and which are justified so that the families of those murdered by the Maoists can know and decide for themselves what to do.

Stop being dahi-chiure about it- you've done it for far too long.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)