बर्तमान संविधानले गृहयुद्धको बिजारोपण गरेको छ         नेपालको मंगोल समुदायको पुरानो चिनारी        राष्ट्रिय स्वाधीनताको रक्षा गर्न सैन्य शासनको आवश्यक        ‘भारतले नेपालको संविधान अस्वीकार गरेको होइन’         नेपालको संविधानबाट मधेशीले स्थायी अधिकार कहिल्यै पाउँदैनन्         तामाङ समुदायको अस्तित्व संकटमा        यो शताब्दी मंगोल समुदायको विजयको शताब्दी हो        नेवारी समुदायले बुझ्नु पर्ने कुरा        राष्ट्रिय पहिचान सहितको संघियता नभए रगतको खोला बग्नेछ        GIVE PEACE A CHANCE        
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GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
  • Dr. CK Raut
Last week, the video of ISIS burning a Jordanian pilot hit the media outlets, and people around the globe glued to screens to watch it like the most spectacular event on the planet.  The closest Nepal had its own last month was a general strike by the opposition parties, during which protestors torched about a dozen vehicles.
Dr Govinda KC, orthopedic surgeon and philanthropist known for his fast for the autonomy of the government medical institutions, and Sharada Bhusal Jha, the anti-corruption activist fasting on several occasions to stop corruptions in various sectors have been dubbed as the “mad” or “crazy” bunch. Parliamentarians throwing mikes and chairs, on the other hand, have been called “lions” and they have received a heroic welcome in their home districts. My own fast-unto-death, for freedom of expression, which lasted for eleven days, remained mostly unnoticed and unheroic to many. Similarly, Nanda Prasad died after 329 days of fasting without getting justice, whereas those who butchered dozens of innocent people have been walking free.


The Baidya group hurling petrol-bombs in the capital on micro-buses killing one and injuring dozen others, the Biplav group capturing land and petrol-pumps, and the opposition parties torching dozens of vehicles during their protests recently brought no charges or convictions for crimes, but our flower-giving activists are being arrested, tortured and convicted on fake charges for no reason.


Armed groups, known or unknown to public, have been invited by the Government of Nepal for talks, they are kept in posh hotels for negotiations, but the government ordered my direct arrest, and demanded life-imprisonment for me mainly on charge of publishing a booklet that had Buddha, Gandhi and Mandela on its cover. No intellectual bothered to even challenge the thoughts and arguments, no journalists bothered to point out flaws in the facts and statistics presented in the booklet; rather they rejoiced the arrest and treason charge filed against me. 


When we repetitively approached the United Nations to submit a memorandum, we were evicted from its premises, using armed police force several times; our memorandum was not worth of even its dustbin. On the contrary, the UNMIN and international communities invested a great deal to look after Maoist weapons in various cantonments.


The government importing truck loads of weapons and ammunition in place of food from our scarce budget, buying bullets instead of books from international aids, deploying armed forces to torture innocent villagers and farmers, and police raping teenagers raise no eyebrows, but international communities listening to some human-right violation cases has been found to raise heckles.


A kidnapping of a tourist or slitting throats of a journalist makes sensational headlines, but news of a Madheshi activist not allowed to speak and picked up by police from tens of thousands of people in Biratnagar, and breaking his leg brutally, made no news anywhere. 


Almost all demonstrations by thousands of people, since my arrest on 13th September 2014, have gone mostly unnoticed in media. Even on the glittery eve of the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu, when the government rearrested me along with more than 400 Madheshis, solely looking at the colour of their skin, just after two days of my release from the prison, barely were they vocal. And blind remained they during most of our mass-gatherings drawing tens of thousands of people, and brutal police suppression during those events.


On 3rd January 2015, in Biratnagar, I didn’t get only my leg fractured from police brutality, but my left-hand finger also bled from the injury. Despite severe pain in the custody, police refused me any medical treatment I urgently needed.  And when I was released after eight hours, I was not allowed to get medical treatment nearby; rather I was forced to leave Morang. Later in the mid-night, I was admitted to the B. P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, where I had to get my leg plastered. On the day, the police had used several rounds of tear-gas shells and bullets to disperse the gathered mass. The police brutally beat even many locals including children and pregnant women, even entering into their houses, and arrested dozens of activists.  Similarly, on 8th January, the police intervened in the Birgunj mass assembly, fired bullets and tear-gas shells, arrested about a dozen of people. Despite I had a broken leg, I was very roughly handled by police, with my crutches flying afar in the turmoil. I was detained in the Armed Police Force (APF) camp amidst the forest in Bara. And again on 19th January, the police foiled our martyr’s day ceremony in Lahan, by firing several rounds of tear-gas shells and bullets and preventing me from attending the ceremony.


On several places, right in front of the human-right monitors, police arrested innocent attendees of mass-gatherings, without any reason.  They were taken into custody and kept in torturous condition. Later police filed fake public offense cases against many of them, including Parmeshwar Murmu (Biratnagar), Hareram Mandal (Biratnagar), Ram Vilas Mehta (Biratnagar), Abdul Khan (Nepalgunj), Irfan Shekh (Nepalgunj), Binod Sharraf (Birgunj), Pradip Thakur (Birgunj), Dhiraj Yadav (Lahan), Ajay Gupta (Lahan), Devu Chaudhari (Lahan) and Roshan Chaudhari (Lahan). In addition to that, the government has threatened to kill Santosh Patel (Journalist), Rajesh Yadav, Rameshwar Sah and Saroj Karn.  Moreover, literally hundreds of our activists are being tortured and harassed, by police by repetitively enquiring them, calling them to police offices and threatening to throw them behind the bars.


Had they even thrown stones or vandalised vehicles, they could understand why they were behind the bars, but as 'flower-givers' they have failed to find any rationale. And thus they have raised very serious, uneasy questions for me, “Maoists have killed seventeen-thousands, yet they are walking free, but you have asked us to give flowers to police despite their brutality, yet why did we end up in prison?”


But at this juncture, at best, I can only show them my own helplessness. In the just couple of months, I have been arrested and detained for seven times, in really a rough manner. Not only that I am not allowed to speak in public, but recently I have not been even allowed to go outside of my house, even to attend funeral rites, and virtually I am under a house arrest.


Despite such brutal suppression by the government, we started a flower movement to hand-over roses to police, in retaliation to the violence and force they use, for we, by heart and soul, believe in peaceful and non-violent means. But in no way, we want to live in an ideal dream that all people shall be toeing on our lines, and if they see that slitting someone’s neck, blowing buildings and torching vehicles have better chances of getting heard, the chances are they are likely to follow the latter. The choice is ours. And, the right time to make choice? It’s definitely not after deaths in the police custody.


###


Dr. C. K. Raut holds a PhD from Cambridge University and is the author of ‘A History of Madhesh’. 

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