Incident Reports

Conflict-hit women demand justice


In May 1998, Bijeshara Shahi of Padamghat, Kalikot was on her way to school when she suddenly heard gunshots from all sides. She was hit with two bullets - one in her left hand and the other in the hip. She soon collapsed on the ground. Four days later, she found herself in a bed of Nepalgunj-based Bheri Hospital. Unfortunately, she had lost her hand. Bijeshara, an eighth grader then is now 32 years old. At that time, she was not a part of the conflict. A year after her treatment, she returned home and the then CPN Maoist made her a 'whole timer' of the party. During the insurgency period, she got married to Padamraj Pariyar of Mugu. Her husband who had sustained serious injuries during the conflict is now unable to work. But her family has no money for his treatment. "The government abandoned us completely after the peace process," laments Shahi. On July 6, 1998, Rambadevi and Dal Bahadur Khatri were preparing to go to bed after dinner when five Maoist cadres reached their front yard and started attacking Dal Bahadur with sharp weapons. Rambadevi screamed for help but no one came forward. "We don't want anyone to go through the torture that we went through during the conflict period," said Rambadevi, adding," The government needs to address the problems of conflict victims." According to her, it's the conflict-hit women who are suffering more these days. The husband of Durga Rawal of Musikot, Rukum used to work as a mechanic. On December 16, 2002, he was returning home when he was found by some Nepal Army soldiers who made him walk to Mahatgaun carrying guns and explosives. Unfortunately, he lost his life in a battle with the Maoists on December 18 and Durga could not even see his dead body. She then had to shoulder the responsibility of her six years old daughter and four years old son all alone. She was compelled to sell all her land for the education of her children. Speaking at a two-day function organized by the Single Women Society for the Conflict Victim Women of Karnali Province in Birendranagar, these women urged the government to guarantee food, shelter, education, health and employment to them. "The government has ignored victims like us," said Ratna Kumari Regmi of Dailekh, adding, "After the death of the breadwinners, we have been compelled to live miserable lives." Ratna Kumari too lost her husband during the conflict period after he was brutally beaten by the army. "I lost my husband to the conflict and they also tortured me and my father-in-law. But still we didn't receive any kind of help from the government," she laments.Shital Singh Rathore, coordinator of Dwanda Pididt Sajha Chautari Manch stressed that the government should do something to address the problems of conflict victims.