Widow’s justice hopes get a renewal
DAILEKH, JAN 08 -
Eight years after the murder of Dailekh-based journalist Dekendra Thapa, the district police have arrested five suspects in connection with the incident.
The recent arrest made by the Dailekh police has revived hopes for justice for Thapa’s widow, Laxmi. She had filed a complaint at the District Police Office (DPO), appealing for investigation into her husband’s killing in August 2008. For four years, police remained quiet.
The case remained moribund; no arrests were made, though Laxmi had provided the names of the suspects involved in her husband’s murder.
She had little hope of ever seeing her husband’s murderers stand trial. She had filed 15 cases in Surkhet, Dang, Bardiya, Banke and Dailekh, to no avail.
“Despite everything, knowing how hopeless the case had become, I had the resolve to struggle. And the support shown by human rights groups and media organisations gave me the strength to carry on,” Laxmi said. With the help of Advocacy Forum, she last month petitioned for a writ of mandamus in the appellate court in Surkhet, seeking orders directing the Dailekh DPO and the district attorney’s office to investigate the case. The appellate court orders to the DPO and the attorney’s office led to the arrest of five suspects on Friday and Saturday.
Laxmi said she is relieved that the police have finally caught up with the case of her husband’s murder that was gathering dust all this while.
“I know that my husband was murdered for something he had never done. Even if he had wronged, the Maoists should have at least given a reason or provided a proof,” said Thapa’s widow.
When Thapa was abducted by the then Maoist insurgents on the pretext of holding talks on resuming drinking water supply for Dailekh Bazaar, he had written letters to Laxmi assuring her that he would return home after the negotiations were over. After the Maoists had cut off the water supply, the residents of Dailekh Bazaar had chosen Thapa as their representative to hold dialogue with the rebels. “In his letter he had written that he would not flee from his captors as he had not done anything wrong. He told me not to worry and that he would return safe and sound after he had talked with the senior leaders of the Maoist party,” shared Laxmi.
She said although her husband was released by senior Maoists leaders, some party cadres were bent on taking his life, as he knew that they were extorting businessmen and submitting only a small portion to the party.
“Even Maoist leader Prachanda apologised for my husband’s murder and said it was against the party’s policy. But local leaders and activists used to issue threats whenever the case was brought up,” Laxmi said.
The Maoist party went on to become the largest party after the peace process. Due to political pressure exerted by the party, the police could not initiate free and fair investigations. Laxmi said she had to go through a lot of ordeal to ensure that justice is delivered. “I beseeched for investigation and justice before the Chief District Officer and the police chief on several occasions. They sided with the Maoists as the party was in government then.”
Things have come full circle for Laxmi in a way. The Maoist party is helming the government at the present. Only this time, the suspected murderers of Thapa are in custody and that Laxmi hopes to get justice .
Posted on: 2013-01-08 08:32