2005-06-14 - incident - Kailali district २०६२-०२-३१ - घटना - कैलाली जिल्ला
Archive ref no: NCA-16191
Alleged incident overview | घटेको भनिएको घटनाको समीक्षा
Information regarding alleged incident | घटेको भनिएको घटनासम्बन्धी जानकारी
- 17. On 14 June 2005, between 24.00 and 01:00, a group of unidentified individuals were heard, by people living in the area, arriving in at the Banbehda Bazaar, about 150 metres south of the APF Badimalika Base2. The group is thought to have arrived on foot, although one report alleges that a tractor was heard entering the location at that time. According to witnesses, male and female voices were heard among the group, which was estimated to include between five and 12 persons. Reportedly, some of those in the group were wearing heavy-sounding boots and armed with knives, including the traditional kukri.
- 18. The group walked a number of times around house number 1 (see Annex 2, inset diagram). House number 1 is made up of six adjoining, single-room dwellings, each with a separate wooden entrance and window/ventilation-hole at the rear.
- 19. At the time of the incident, house number 1 was occupied as follows:
- • Rooms A and B had been vacant for two days: some unconfirmed sources indicate that the previous occupants left due to security concerns.
- • Room C was occupied by the wife of an APF policeman.
- • Room D was temporarily unoccupied, and its dweller, Mrs. Radha Devi Singh, was residing at night in room E with her neighbours, for security reasons. Mrs. Radha Devi Singh was the wife of APF policeman Mr. Man Bahadur Singh.
- • Room E was occupied by four individuals: Mrs. Durgadevi Iyer, its habitual occupant, wife of APF policeman Mr. Upendra Iyer; Mrs. Radha Devi Singh, neighbour from apartment D; and Mrs. Laxmi Shah and her one-year-old child, Dipendra Shah (both of whom had arrived less than 48 hours previously), respectively wife and son of APF policeman Mr. Keshab Shah.
- 20. After having surrounded house number 1, some individuals in the group started to knock on the doors and to peep through the window/ventilation-holes into the rooms with a flashlight, and asking occupants to open their door.
- 21. In room C, the wife of the APF policeman hid under a bed, pretending the room was vacant. She remained in hiding until daylight at around 05.00.
- 22. Members of the group apparently tricked the inhabitants of room E into opening the door by posing as members of a police patrol. Members of the group reportedly asked questions on the whereabouts of the room inhabitants’ husbands, and the three adult inhabitants were ordered to leave with the group. After having refused to leave behind her one-year-old child, Mrs. Shah was ordered to take him along.
- 23. After the initial abduction of the four people from house number 1, the group went to house number 2, ten metres away. House number 2 was occupied by Mr. Ganesh B.K., cousin of APF policeman Mr. Dharma B.K., and Mr. Prem Buh. Both had arrived some days earlier to be recruited by the APF. The door was knocked in and the occupants were abducted. According to one report, house number 2 was searched, and 9,000 Nepalese Rupees and a golden ring were taken.
- 24. Before leaving the area at between 00.30 and 01.00, the group shouted out to all those within earshot to tell the police to send the victims’ husbands to the Khutiya river, west of the village, and warned that "there will be a fight". The abduction took place over an estimated period of 30 to 60 minutes.
- 25. The group was heard by a number of sources making its way east, in the direction of the Kuchaini Khola river and the Gwasi Community Forest: voices (including a child crying), activation of a water pump and possibly the sound of a tractor were reported. The group is thought to have used the electric pylons to navigate by night through the Gwasi Community Forest.
- 26. OHCHR was unable to confirm what precisely happened to the 6 abducted individuals between 01.00 and 12.30, when their bodies were found in the middle3 of Gwasi Community Forest.
- 27. As was later revealed by post-mortem reports, photographs and interviews with witnesses and staff who conducted the autopsy at Seti Zonal Hospital, OHCHR found that:
- • Some of the victims were subject to severe physical abuse, including beatings and stabbing, as well as being dragged along the ground.
- • All of the victims, except for the one-year-old child, had their arms tied behind their back when they were found, suggesting an execution-style murder.
- • The victims were killed with sharp objects, possibly knives or kukris. There were severe injuries to either the front or the back of the neck, which was the cause of death in each case.
- • The best estimation of the time of death was not earlier than 01.00 on 14 June 2005.
- 28. Given the decomposed and distended state of the bodies by the time of autopsy, it was not possible to determine whether any of the female victims had been subject to rape. However, because of the suspicion of rape, vaginal swabs were taken by the police from the three female victims. Samples were sent to Kathmandu, and forensic testing for the presence of semen gave negative results in all three cases. Nevertheless, photographs of the position in which the bodies were found, as well the lack of lower garments on two of the three women, are consistent with sexual assault.
- 29. According to the base Commander, the APF Badimalika Base was informed of the abductions between 05.00 and 06.00 on 14 June 2005, by a local female resident. The APF informed local human rights defenders of the incident the same morning, at around 07.30. A search operation was organized, and APF forces were dispatched to the west of Banbehda Bazaar, towards the Khutiya river area.
- 30. Between 12.00 and 01.00 on 14 June 2005, a local shepherd boy (name unknown) reportedly discovered one female body in the Gwasi Community Forest, 1.3km south-east of the APF Badimalika Base. He subsequently informed Mr. Kaghendra Budha, vice-chairman of the Gwasi Community Forest.
- 31. According to Mr. Budha, he went to the place where the body of a woman was found and recognized the body of Mrs. Radha Devi Singh. He then proceeded to inform the APF base. On the way there, he met a fellow ranger who had also seen the body.
- 32. The APF Badimalika Base Commander dispatched a platoon to the place indicated at around 15.00, headed by Officer Mani M.S., 2nd in command at the base. Six bodies were found: three women, two men and a male child, all within a 30m radius of each other. Pictures were taken of the exact location and position of the bodies, as reportedly found.
- 33. The bodies were then quickly taken to the APF Badimalika Base as night was approaching. Due to the prevailing security situation at night, it was decided to transport the bodies to Dhangadhi for an autopsy the following day.
- 34. The victims were identified by relatives as follows:
- • Ganesh B.K., male, age 18.
- • Prem Buhl, male, age 18.
- • Durgagevi Iyer, female, age 19.
- • Dipendra Shah, male, age one.
- • Laxmi Shah, female, age 21.
- • Radha Devi Singh, female, age 19.
- 35. On 15 June 2005, a press conference was called for 07.00, at the base. The bodies were lined up, and a video was shot by APF personnel. The video clearly shows the bodies of women still wearing jewellery (earrings, necklaces and anklets).
- 36. The bodies were transferred to the Seti Zonal Hospital at approximately 12.00 on 15 June 2005, by APF personnel. The autopsy was conducted that same day.