The powerful article by Mohan Mainali ("Unfriendly fire", #106) moved many of us. Whoever was responsible for the original massacre-whether it was the Maoists for provoking the army attack, or the army for not making an effort to distinguish guerrillas from civilians-it is clear that even six months later, there has been no effort by the state to redress the misery and loss of the families of the dead. When will those in power in Kathmandu ever understand that it is exactly this heartlessness and indifference to the suffering of citizens that gave birth to the Maoist insurgency in the first place?
. Thank you, Mohan Mainali, for doing what few Nepali journalists have done to investigate the tragedy of the villagers from Dhading in Kalikot. Being far away from Nepal, the story of the bereaved villagers brought tears to my eyes. The story is today's Nepal in a microcosm-the violence and brutality, the apathy, revolutionaries gone berserk, and an unfeeling government.
Bhim B Thapa,
. A few days ago the body of a young man was brought in to the Teaching Hospital. He had been beaten to death. History was he was arrested and then jumped or fell from a vehicle. Sorry, he did not get those injuries that way. The security forces requested that we not "write about the injuries". You can imagine how far that went. They would also not provide information about identification-apparently wanting to dispose of the body without the family ever being aware of what had happened to the man. Until the rule of law is restored to some degree at least in this country, there is little hope for anything. As your story "Unfriendly fire" shows, poor people in the villages are caught squarely between the Maoists and the security forces-each one as bad and ruthless as the other, both guilty of torture and atrocities. Several victims have been brought into the Emergency Room at the hospital with legs crushed by heavy rocks as punishment for whatever perceived infractions.
. The open letter to Nepali and British Prime Ministers by the group, Nepal Unity (#106) was pertinent. But I don't see any people around who would think in this way. If they stop selling and buying weapons and start promoting human rights instead, how can they get commissions and personal benefit? I don't know a single Nepali leader who has no personal interest.