2002-10-21 - incident - Bardiya district २०५९-०७-०४ - घटना - बर्दिया जिल्ला
Archive ref no: NCA-07709
Alleged incident overview | घटेको भनिएको घटनाको समीक्षा
Information regarding alleged incident | घटेको भनिएको घटनासम्बन्धी जानकारी
- 115. Kessar Kumar Chowdhury
- Between October 20 and 22, 2002 (Kartik 3 and Kartik 5, 2059), RNA soldiers and APF officers based at the Manpur Tapara temporary army camp in the Rajapur area of Bardia, conducted a large-scale operation in the area, arresting and "disappearing" at least sixteen people. The RNA/APF operation came at a time of great tension in the Rajapur area. Maoists had destroyed many government offices in the months before the operation, and had given an ultimatum to the family members of security personnel to coerce their relatives to resign from the security forces or leave Rajapur. According to the relatives of the disappeared, family members of the security forces participated in the operation, pointing out suspected Maoists during the searches.97
- There is no doubt that the "disappeared" detainees were taken to the Manpur Tapara Secondary School, which the RNA had temporarily occupied as their "Manpur Tapara temporary army camp." Relatives of the disappeared went daily to the school, where they saw the detainees being held blindfolded in a school room. Many recognized their relatives from the clothes they were wearing at the time of their arrest. Then, around October 24 or 25, the Manpur Tapara temporary army camp was dismantled, and the sixteen detainees were never seen again.
- On the night of October 20, 2002 (Kartik 3, 2059), at about 11 a.m., the soldiers arrested three men from Manpur Topara VDC-8, Jamunabachi village. Twenty-six-year-old Fula Ram Tharu, a farmer, was sleeping when RNA soldiers surrounded his home and came inside. One soldier said, "He's a Maoist," and the soldiers began taking Fula Ram outside. When his wife, holding a baby, tried to stop them, she was roughly pushed to the ground.98 The soldiers also went to the home of seventeen-year-old Ram Karan
- Tharu, a grade ten student, and ordered him to get dressed and come with them, threatening to kill him if his mother didn't stop crying. Before leaving with Ram Karan, the soldiers locked the family inside their home. According to his family, Ram Karan was "a student and not involved in politics. He was preparing for his [college] entrance exams."99 Also arrested that night was thirty-year-old Runchya Tharu, a farmer who shied away from any political involvement, according to his family.100
- For the next four days after the arrest, the relatives of Fula Ram went repeatedly to the Tapara temporary army camp, where soldiers confirmed that Fula Ram was in their custody, once saying: "[Fula Ram] is inside and he has not been killed. Just go home and wait for him." Relatives of Rumchya Tharu also went to the Tapara temporary army camp, and spotted all three of the detained villagers standing at a window in the room they were held with other detainees.101
- The same night of October 20, at about 2 a.m., a combined group of uniformed RNA soldiers and APF officers also carried out two arrests in a second village in Manpur Topara VDC-8, Vikrampur village. At the home of thirty-year-old Radheshyam Tharu, a farmer, soldiers held back his wife while they arrested him. When his wife tried to follow the soldiers, they threatened to shoot her.102 The soldiers also arrested thirty-three-year-old Raj Kumar Tharu, beating back his wife and brother with their guns.103
- The relatives of Radhesyam saw him in detention in Tapara temporary army camp two days afterwards, but were not allowed to enter. Raj Kumar's relatives also saw him at Tapara five days after the arrest, with his hands tied behind his back and blindfolded, but still wearing the clothes he had been arrested in.104
- Also on October 20, at about 3 a.m., a combined force of RNA and APF soldiers carried out arrests in Badalpur VDC-9, detaining four persons. Twenty-six-year-old Basantu Tharu, a mill worker, was arrested after the security forces broke down his door and immediately began beating him.105 The security forces also broke down the door of twenty-year-old Lautan Tharu's home and detained him. Lautam had returned from working in India seven days before his arrest and "disappearance."106 A grade nine student, twenty-year-old Bagale Tharu, was also arrested,107 as was twenty-one-year-old Pharek Tharu, a farmer and his family's main breadwinner.108 The families denied that any of the four were members of CPN-M. Relatives of Basantu went daily to Tapara, and spotted him there in detention on three separate occasions. Lautam was spotted on two separate occasions by his relatives, with his hands tied behind him.109
- RNA soldiers further arrested four people from Harinagar village, Khairi Chandanpur VDC-8 during the day of October 21, 2002. From witnesses' accounts, when the soldiers arrived in the village, a Maoist flag was hanging in a tree near the field of forty-five-year-old Sunawa Chowdhury. The soldiers ordered Sunawa to remove the flag, and then took him with them.110 The soldiers also arrested twenty-four-year-old Bagi Ram Chowdhury while he was working in his field.111 Nineteen-year-old Kessar Kumar Chowdhury, a grade six student and thirty-eight-year-old Pati Ram Chowdhury, a medical shop owner, were also detained.112 The four men were never seen again.
- On October 21, RNA soldiers arrested twenty-eight-year-old Mangru Chowdhury, a former tractor driver who had seriously injured his back in a work accident and was operating a small shop at the time of his arrest. The soldiers locked his family into their home in Chapti village, Badalpur VDC-4, and took him away. 113
- The soldiers then brought Mangru Chowdhury to the parental home of seventeen-year-old Gopal Chowdhury, a grade nine student in the same village. The soldiers searched the house and found some Maoist literature. They accused Chowdhury of being a Maoist, beat him and his three brothers, and walked both men away.
- Gopal Chowdhury's family searched for him extensively. At one point, soldiers in Kohalpur barracks in Banke district told them that Chowdhury was there but was at the moment out "in training." Several months later, a fellow villager told the family that he had seen Chowdhury at the Badalpur temporary army base. A respected international agency told the family later that Mangru Tharu was killed, but that it had no information about Chowdhury.114
- On October 22, RNA soldiers came to Pahadipur village, Badalpur VDC-3. The soldiers asked the villagers to point out forty-one-year-old Moti Lal Tharu, a farmer and local-level CPN-M activist, who was working in his field at the time. The soldiers ordered Moti Lal to come with them, after which he was never seen again. Soldiers at the Tapara temporary barracks denied he was in detention there, but another detainee who was later released confirmed to the family that Moti Lal had been held at the Tapara barracks.115
- On October 25 (Kartik 8), the soldiers left the Manpur Tapara temporary army camp and redeployed to nearby Guleria, the district's headquarters. Attempts by the relatives to get information about what happened to the disappeared men were unsuccessful. Some families received unofficial confirmation through contacts in the security forces that some of the men had been moved to the Rajdal army barracks at the Nepalgunj airport, but were unable to visit any detainees there.116 The "disappearances" were reported to the ICRC, INSEC, CIVICT, and to other local human rights organizations.