Madhesh movement martyr families suffer indifference from leaders
Janakpurdham, 19 January (2020) – On January 30, 2007 a protest rally starts from Bidyapati Chowk in Janakapur as part of the Madhesh movement. Rajesh Kumar Thakur, a ninth standard student at Sankatmochan School, participates in the rally.
The police opens fire at the crowd when it reaches Basahiya Chowk. Many people are wounded and the crowd scatters.
Rajesh was at the front of the crowd. He fell down on the spot. Protestors took him to Janakpur Zonal Hospital.
The hospital referred him to BP Koirala Health Science Institute, Dharan. He breathed his last after 12 hours of treatment.
Rajesh was the eldest son of Tapeshwar Thakur and Kusumi Devi hailing from Prakauli Village Development Committee in Mahottari district.
Without any lands to do agriculture, Tapeshwar came to Janakpur. He opened a hair salon at Janakpur Buspark to feed his family.
Rajesh was helping his father in the salon and studying in the school. But a bullet from the police took his life in his prime youth.
Government of Nepal declared him martyr and provided 100,000 rupees to his family. Kusumi Devi says that those who facilitated to provide that amount took away 50,000 rupees.
The family bought a house with 500,000 rupees. The remaining amount was spent on the wedding of Rajesh’s sister.
Their salon was brought down last year while expanding the road.
Rajesh’s father Tapeshwar died last year.
Now Rajesh’s brother Brikhesh shoulders the responsibility of feeding his family. He is working at another salon.
Brikhesh says, “I earn from 300 to 500 rupees a day and feed my mother, wife and children with it.”
Last year Lal Babu Raut, Chief Minister of Province-2, committed to provide government jobs to members of the martyr family while speaking at the Balidani Diwas (Sacrifice Day) in Lahan.
Raut had even given a contact paper to the martyr families. Brikhesh went to the Office of the Chief Minister (CM) with his mother and filled out the form for the job. But that led him nowhere.
“The CM has not called us as yet. I have no academic qualifications. I would be grateful to the province government if it appoints me to the post of a driver,” he said.
Madhesh-centric parties celebrate Balidani Diwas every day on 19 January. Kusumi Devi said that the leaders used to remember the families of the martyrs earlier but they have not paid attention afterwards.
Upendra Yadav who is credited for leading the Madhesh movement had met Rajesh’s parents in Janakpur and told them that his party would take responsibility for the whole family. But Kusumi Devi says that Yadav did not meet them afterwards. “No one asks how we are living and what the condition of our family is,” she says.
Rajesh’s story is an emblematic case of the state’s negligence of martyr families. Both the federal government and the provincial government have completely ignored the plights of the victims of Madhesh movement.
Even the political parties who led the victims during the movement have ditched them. Martyr family and family of the wounded have said that they have been unheeded.
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