2003-01-02 - incident - Gorkha district २०५९-०९-१८ - घटना - गोरखा जिल्ला
Archive ref no: NCA-08649
Alleged incident overview | घटेको भनिएको घटनाको समीक्षा
Information regarding alleged incident | घटेको भनिएको घटनासम्बन्धी जानकारी
- Niru Pokhrel, a twenty-one-year-old student at Gorkha University, was arrested from her home in the Pritihivi Narayan Municipality of Gorkha district on December 4, 2002 (Mangshir 18, 2059). According to a relative who was at home at the time, several police officers and RNA soldiers in civilian dress came to the home, showed their security force IDs, and said they wanted to take Pokhrel in for questioning and would return her the next morning. Pokhrel was never seen again.
- However, relatives brought Pokhrel clean clothes several times over the next few weeks at the District Police Headquarters in Gorkha, and were given her dirty clothes for washing, strongly suggesting that Pokhrel was alive and being held at the District Police Headquarters. On several occasions, police officers extorted money from the family, saying Pokhrel had requested the money. According to her family, Pokhrel was not an active member of CPN-M, but she did like to attend CPN-M cultural events, sing CPN-M songs, and was an outspoken person on campus.37
- On December 5, 2002 (Mansir 19, 2059), a group of RNA soldiers came to the Choprak VDC, Gorkha district home of Keshar Bahadur Nepali, a fifty-year-old teacher who had been appointed to head the local village committee of the Maoists' "People's Government." Nepali was arrested from his home at about 5 p.m., and according to his family was taken to the Lakeside Army Camp, where he was used by the RNA to identify other CPN-M members over the next days.38
- A high school teacher who had been held in detention around the same time confirmed to Human Rights Watch that he had seen Niru Pokhrel and nineteen-year-old Durga Pokhrel, both of whom had been his students, at the Gorkha District Police office, where he had been detained from December 28, 2002 to January 17, 2003 (Poush 13 to Magh 4, 2059). He also heard the voice of Keshar Bahadur Nepali, who is from his home village, at the police station. Other detainees also pointed out a fourth detainee, forty-seven-year-old Khadanada Pande to him. When he was released, he was told by Keshar Bahadur Nepali's brother that all four had been killed.39
- About one month after the arrest, local FM radio and newspapers carried a government announcement that Pokhrel and Nepali, together with Durga Pokhrel, a nineteen-year-old student from Choprak VDC-6 in Gorkha district, and Khadanada Pande, identified as a CPN-M, were killed in an "encounter" with security forces.40 Given the fact that at least two of the killed persons were known to have been in detention prior to the killings, the "encounter" appears to have been staged, and a more credible conclusion is that the four were killed while in detention. Because the Nepali government has never formally acknowledged the killings or handed over the bodies to the relatives, the four remain "disappeared" to date.
- The killing of these four persons in detention is not the only such suspected case in Gorkha. According to local human rights activists, on January 2, 2003 (Poush 18, 2059), just five days later, Nepali security forces executed another five detained Maoists suspects: twenty-one-year-old Bishnu Marahatta; twenty-two-year-old Kalika Poudel; twenty-two-year-old Purna Chandra Acharya; nineteen-year-old Kumar Thapa; and twenty-year-old Nabin Shirestha . The "disappearance" of all nine persons remains unresolved, and the substantiated allegations that they were all killed in custody have not been investigated by the authorities.41