Kathmandu– Ganga Maya Adhikari, who has been fighting for justice for her murdered son, consumed food today for the first time in 45 days, ending her fourth fast-unto-death that started on May 29.
The 57-year-old resident of Phujel, Gorkha, drank water, juice, Horlicks and glucose given by Law Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang at Bir Hospital after the government agreed to fulfil the commitments made in the past and form a committee to oversee implementation of previous agreements.
Adhikari, however, warned that she would start her fifth fast-unto-death in the next 10 days if the government failed to work as per its commitment to serving justice to her murdered son.
“The government has tricked me many times in the past and I can’t rely on it,” Adhikari told THT. “I probably would not have ended my hunger strike had human rights activists not made a request because I know the government never keeps its word.”
Adhikari’s teenage son Krishna Prasad was kidnapped and fatally shot by then Maoist rebels in Chitwan in June 2004 at the peak of insurgency. She has accused Chhabilal Poudel, his son Parshuram Paudel and nephews Bhimsen Paudel, Ram Prasad Adhikari and Januka Paudel of killing her son.
The government has already issued ‘red corner notice’ against all the accused, except Chhabilal Poudel, who surrendered before the Supreme Court last week.
After Poudel’s surrender, Law Secretary Rajiv Gautam and Home Ministry Spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi requested Adhikari to end her hunger strike. But she refused, stating Chhabilal was set free by the court in the past as well and sought ‘written commitment from the government to punish the killers’.
Today, Law Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang handed over a letter to Adhikari, which provides assurance to fulfil all the commitments made in the past by the government.
On October 17, 2014, the Sushil Koirala-led government had expressed commitment to arrest those involved in the murder of Adhikari’s son and facilitate the process of providing justice to the victim. The then government had also expressed commitment to cremate the body of Adhikari’s husband with honour and provide a special relief package to Adhikari. The government, at that time, had said it would foot Adhikari’s hospital bill, bear other costs, including medical, food and housing, for a lifetime, and provide security to Noor Prasad, Adhikari’s son.
“We are committed to fulfilling all these promises,” Minister Tamang said, adding, “You won’t have to resort to fast-unto-death again.”
The government has agreed to form a committee, comprising its own representatives and people nominated by Adhikari, to oversee implementation of commitments made in the past.
The National Human Rights Commission will oversee whether the government fulfils its commitments in the next 10 days, said its Chairman Anup Raj Sharma, who was present at Bir Hospital when Adhikari ended her hunger strike.
Adhikari, along with her husband Nanda Prasad, first staged fast-unto-death in January 2013. The hunger strike ended after 47 days following the government’s commitment to serving justice. But after the main accused, Chhabilal Poudel was released on bail, the Adhikari couple resumed their hunger strike. In September 2014, Adhikari’s husband, Nanda Prasad, passed away while staging hunger strike for 11 months. Nanda Prasad is yet to be cremated and his body has been kept at TU Teaching Hospital.