After four months of hospitalisation, Rabin and Rabina Regmi returned to Hetauda Tuesday after treatment at the Sushma Koirala Memorial Hospital in Sankhu for severe burn injuries sustained in a Maoist arson attack.
Rabina, 6, and her four-year-old brother started crying uncontrollably when they got inside the bus. It brought back traumatic memories of the night of 4 November 2002 when the bus they were travelling in was set on fire on the Mahendra Highway near Malangwa. Their mother died trying to save her children.
Rabina and Rabin's father, Bhakta Bahadur Regmi's face showed concern as his children wept uncontrollably. Rabina hugged her brother and father and was inconsolable. The human rights group, INSEC, helped Bhakta Bahadur hire a taxi, and only after they came out of the bus did the children stop crying.
After their tragic story was first reported ("Why the Children?" Nepali Times, #121) Rs 200,000 was raised from donations and the Sushma Koirala Meomorial Hospital offered to treat the children for free. The money has been deposited in a high-interest savings account. Several schools have offered scholarships to the children, but Rabina doesn't want to be separated from her brother and will wait until he is old enough to go to school. The children still don't know that their mother is dead, and Rabin has regular nightmares of 'maobadis'.
Rabin and Rabina have made a dramatic recovery, but they still need skin graft and orthopedic treatment and will return to Sankhu in August. Before driving off with his children, Bhakta Bahadur said, "We are so grateful to all the people who gave us support. It's because of their help that my children are alive today."