South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Nepal’s civil war may be over, but the fate of over 1,350 disappeared remains uncertain.
Kamala Tamang, 29, lost her husband Santosh Tamang seven years. He never came back.
On Monday, watching “Shadows of Hope’, a documentary film about the family members of those who went missing,  and produced by the International Community of the Red Cross and Nepal Red Cross Society, she recalled how her husband disappeared and her ordeal began.
“Not knowing whether he is dead or alive, I am still hopeful he will be back someday,” she says, holding her 9-year-old daughter.
As the international Day of Disappeared is being commemorated worldwide, Kamala, a conflict victim, cannot even demand of the concerned authorities that they trace the whereabouts of her loved one.
She, who hails from Kavre, a district neighbouring Kathmandu, last saw her husband as he was set to head towards a neighbouring village. “He did not say where he was going,” she recalls. “I thought he would return soon.”
Many days passed, Kamala has not heard anything of her husband. The shadows of hope still remain—her family members have not done the last rites for her husband in the hope that he will be back someday.  Above all, after her husband’s disappearance, it is getting worse by the day. Kamala has difficulty in eking out a living. She works as a daily wage earner.
She is alone raising her daughter, who was just two-and-half-year when Santosh disappeared, and it is a problem for he to give her a good education because she does not have enough income.
What Kamala finds hard is convincing her daughter as to the whereabouts of her father. The elderly father of Santosh, Chandra Man Tamang, 56, who lost his he only son to the insurgency, went from pillar to post in search of Santosh who who was just 21when he disappeared.
The old man at last learnt from a local Maoist leader that Santosh was killed in an encounter with the state security agencies.
Yet, he is not ready to believe it because he has not seen his son’s body. “I cannot forget my only son. For me, justice is what means the most now,” said Tamang as tears rolled down his cheeks.
It is not that the state has not extended support but whatever the state has given, it is not sufficient for this bereaved father who lost his sole breadwinner.
ICRC says that many of the family members whose loved ones, most of them were married and who disappeared in the conflict are finding it hard to eke out a living. Some of them are mentally disturbed.
Source: The Kathmandu Post – 30.08.2010