Nepali Times
Behind the headline


Three weeks ago, there was a deadly bomb explosion inside a packed minibus in Butwal. Of the 28 people injured in the incident, seven critically, two succumbed to their injuries. One was Radha Kandel; the other was a male in his thirties, yet to be identified.

The Butwal bomb was the third in a series of explosions that has terrorised the Tarai that week. The mainstream media was full of speculation about the effect on the peace process and constitution writing, but only for a day or two. The bombs disappeared from the headlines as suddenly as they appeared.

Yet for the injured, life will never be the same again. If there was one thing Arjun Kandel, 32, could change, it would be the nightmare of 27 March that took his wife Radha away from him. Arjun had recently returned from Taiwan to take her back with him. "Dai and Bhauju were supposed to board their flight in two days," says his sister Devi Kandel. Lying in his hospital bed, Arjun seems shell-shocked: "What had we done?"

Arjun may walk again, but he doesn't know how to deal with their four-year-old daughter, who still does not know why her parents are not home from the market. Doctors at the B&B Hospital say Radha, 31, died due to excessive blood loss. She had severe facial burns and wounds, and her left leg had had to be amputated.

Arjun now has other worries. His job in Taiwan is uncertain, the hospital bills have crossed Rs 400,000. He has no idea how he will manage.

Basudev Shrestha, VDC secretary of Chhipa of Rupandehi, remembers the blast but when he came to he was in TU Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu (seen with his daughter, left). He has multiple fractures in his left leg, both his legs have burns, and his heels are severely damaged. His doctor says it will take two and a half months for the fractures to heal, but he will not be able to walk normally again. Basudev has been in government service for 30 years.

On March 27 he was returning from his office in Bhairawa since VDC secretaries in Rupandehi had abandoned the villages for lack of security. "It is difficult to work efficiently being away from the VDC, but we have no choice," Shrestha says, "If I was working in my VDC, I wouldn't be in this situation."

The government has promised Rs 150,000 to the families of the deceased and will cover 75 per cent of medical expenses for the injured. But this will hardly compensate for the personal loss of the victims.

On Wednesday Butwal police arrested three members of the armed group Akhil Tarai Mukti Morcha, who they say planted the bus bomb. APO Dan Bahadur Karki says investigations have shown "encouraging results" but he couldn't give details of the other victim whose body is still at hospital.

Read also:
By the way: No War, No Peace, ANURAG ACHARYA

1. KiranL
The bombs disappeared from the headlines as suddenly as they appeared.

Yes, the media's attention span is very short and the bombs became yesterday's story with no followup. Thanks to Nepali Times and Anurag Acharya for going back to pick up the pieces. But what is still not clear is who was behind the killings and for what reason? What did they achieve by killing two people and injuring 30? who is going to pay for Arjun Kandel's hospital bills?

2. jange

1. KiranL

What did they achieve by killing two people and injuring 30?

Precisely. You need to kill a few thousand before you can achieve anything substantial. I believe the going rate is around 15,000 for a prime ministership and sundry ministries.

Having accepted, glorified and rewarded Maoist violence the political and intellectual elite of Nepal do not have the moral standing to say this is wrong. As this would mean having to say that the Maoist violence was wrong too.

This would then put a question mark on the political "achievements" of the last few years and we can't have that can we?

3. Krisna
Dear Acharya,
Thanks for your article, every commoner either from hills, moutain or Madhesh selfish leaders are dealing them as pawns. note if pawn Promotes to queen always serves better and struggle till last to win but her the pawns are promoted to president or VP not to the Queen. That is harming madhesh and Madhesh like community in hills and mountain, we no the reality and you should concentrate for the same.Thanks again.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)