After 1,352 ex-combatants entered the Nepal Army in June this year, 70 more were inducted as officers at a ceremony in Kharipati this Monday, bringing one chapter of the peace treaty to a formal end. In light of the decade long insurgency, the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) and the extended peace process, this event marks a milestone in Nepal’s modern history.
While one aim of the peace process has been somewhat fulfilled, perpetrators of war era crimes have gone largely unpunished. Gorkha’s Nanda Prasad and Ganga Adhikari (pic, above) are two among thousands of family members seeking justice for their loved ones. The couple has been on hunger strike on and off since January and came to the limelight a few months ago due to their dogged persistence. Even though the government promised to pursue their son’s killers, who belong to the UCPN (M), there are major roadblocks. Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai, in particular, have been threatening “stern consequences” against those demanding justice. Considering the elderly couple’s deteriorating health, there is a need to fast-track the case. However, without a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in place, others have no recourse to justice.
15,000 Nepalis died in the insurgency and many more were injured, but in the seven years since its end there has been little to be hopeful about for victims and their families. Each successive government since the 2006 Jana Andolan has failed to establish a TRC and provide relief, compensation, and rehabilitation to those affected by the conflict.
A TRC bill, which the Khil Raj Regmi led government attempted to push through an ordinance earlier this year, has been the subject of judicial inquiry after activists claimed it was unfair to victims and sought revision in court. It is the responsibility of the state to come up out a solution that doesn’t alienate the families of those killed and disappeared. The parties that have established themselves as the vanguard of the CPA must also understand this before it is too late. Only a TRC can ensure that a reconciliatory peace process reaches its logical end.