With his adopted son serving in the Royal Nepali Army, Durga Prasad Chaudhary of Bardiya was confident that his family would be safe from the security forces. But neighbours of this 40-year-old farmer felt that he ran the risk of being attacked by Maoist rebels. Both Chaudhary and his neighbours were wrong. In a sudden turn of events on 9 November last year, soldiers came to Chaudhary's farm where he was roasting wild rodents with his eight-year-old son, Balkrishna.
Nervously, the Tharu farmer said he was not with the rebels, and mentioning that his son was a soldier. The young boy recalls how the soldiers did not listen. And then shot his father in the head and stomach, leaving him for dead. "They kicked and beat me too," recalls Balkrishna, his voice trembling. "While thrashing me they asked if I had seen any Maoists."
The Defence Ministry described the incident as the result of an encounter between security forces and terrorists. A few days before Chaudhary was killed, Maoist rebels had tried to ambush a tractor carrying army personnel on a bridge near his house, but missed after the explosion went off prematurely.
Chuadhary's family members said the army personnel returned a few days later to find a scapegoat. "They manhandled all of us," complains Chaudhary's widow Batuli. "My son still suffers from that beating." When she tried to explain to them that her son was in the Royal Nepali Army, the soldiers retorted, "In that case, you should have been staying at Gulariya." At the time of Chaudhary's death, more than 300 displaced family members of army personnel lived at the district headquarters.