The question that we shall like the readers to ask and reflect after they have read this piece: Who are responsible for this spread of hatred? Can the situation persist like this? Will the Committee Report’s findings help in quelling the hatred brewing amongst the locals for the refugees? There is perhaps a need for building trust between the two communities. Exactly how shall that be done is again open to debate.
It has been reported that there was a hot discussion going on between two groups of the forest user committee near the northern side of the camp. One local woman came there with a basket load of firewood, which was immediately seized by the committee members and taken away amidst severe protest and use of abusive language by the woman. That time Thakur Sing Thapa (Magar) a Bhutanese refugee came to witness the scene who was caught hold by the committee and assaulted. He was taken towards the forest and on the mound a fire was lit and he was repeatedly thrust and brought out of the fire. This was seen by a group of refugee youths and they demanded that he be released. But they came up against them and a quarrel ensued which broke to a fighting. More people came in bicycles with sharp weapons and fighting continued. Meanwhile a police force was summoned and they started throwing tear gas at the refugees and most of them were only silently looking at the incident. Then while most of the people were nauseated, some local youths of Pathri penetrated into the crowd right inside the camp, cut the thigh of Gopal Khadka and then sliced his throat with a sharp weapon. He died on the spot. The locals used spear and sharp weapons and wounded many of the camp people who were unarmed and many mostly onlookers. The names of some of the wounded are as follows:
1. Name: Guna Raj Karki. 20-M
Add: Beldangi-2, D3/24
Presently studying at NHA School
Case: Deep cut with open injury (Lt) elbow joint.
2. Name: San Man Bhattarai. 17-M
Add: Sanischare camp, H4/08
Case: Deep cut injury (Rt.forearm)
3. Name: Aita Singh Magar. 15-M
Add: Sanischare camp, G6/45
Case: Deep cut injury and rib injury backside (Lt)
4. Name: Jit Bdr. Chauhan. 16-M
Add: Sanischare camp, G4/43
Case: Deep stab wound with rib injury back side (Rt) side
5. Name: Harka Bdr. Magar. 35-M
Add: Sanischare camp, G1/34
Case: Multiple Head injury with severe bleeding
6. Name: Thakur Singh Magar. 26-M
Add: Sanischare camp, J3/15
Case: Multiple Head injury with Haematoma
The above mentioned cases are referred immediately to AMDA Hospital, Damak on date 22/2/07
Incident of the second day i.e. on 23rd of February 2007 compiled below.
On 23rd morning, a group of locals from Jirikhimti side entered the camp with sharp weapons and torches to kindle the huts of the refugees in Sector J and K from road side and the refugee youths defended and did not allow them to enter the camp. Pelting of stones continued throughout the day. The police reached the scene towards the late afternoon and there was a confrontation with the locals of the Pathari bazaar. One youth from that side caught hold of a gun of a constable and fired at the refugees by which two old refugees were wounded. After that, the locals of Pathari set fire to the two huts of sector K2. Hut no 19 and 21 which were completely burnt and hut nos 20, 34 and 04 were partially burnt and damaged. Since then curfew was imposed in the camp area.
A team of five people including camp secretary went to Belbari at 5.30 p.m. for a discussion and solution of the problem. The discussion had to be fixed for the next day at 11.00 a.m. as the Sanischare local representatives were not present. The next day the meeting started at 3.00 p.m. and the CDO, deputy CDO, SP of Morang, and UNHCR Security Officer were present. The presence of National political party leaders and the camp secretaries of other six camps were denied by t he local agitators. The following points were put forward by the members present:
Shifting of the camp to another place.
Verification of the loss and compensation.
Verification of the death, compensation and action on the culprit.
Treatment of the injured and compensation for the disable.
The CDO proposed to make a committee comprising of nine representatives to start the work of fact-finding and the committee should submit the report within 15 days. He also said that the Govt. would provide necessary treatment of the wounded in Koshi Hospital and Dharan BPKHS. For the first point he said that he would forward the proposal to the Government. The representatives for the investigating committee are as follows:
Two representatives from the camp.
Two representatives from Pathari bazaar.
Two representatives from Sanischare Forest user group.
One representative from the Govt.
One representative from the Human Rights.
One representative from the UNHCR.
The names of the members of the committee were to be given to the CDO the next day but the committee could not be formed as fresh agitation against the local administration started next day morning from Pathari Bazaar. Since then the situation with regards to camp operation is getting more difficult.
The people who were shot during the police intervention are:
1. Name: Dilli ram Dungana 68-M
Add: Sanischare Camp B2/25
Case: injury at right buttock Pearsed bullet.
He is transferred to Ghopa Hospital at Dharan.
2. Name: Karna Bahadur Poudyel 48-M
Add: Sanischare camp, K-1 # 50
Case: Pierced bullet injury (Lt.) arm
(These above two cases were directly referred to Koshi Zonal Hospital at Biratnagar on February 23, '07 with the help of the security force).
3. Name: Mr. Jeeten Budathoki 20-M
Add: Sanischare Camp: H-1 # 15
Case: Conjunctival Haemorrhage (lt. Eye) with cellulites.
This was referred to AMDA hospital in Damak.
4. Name: Gopal Khadka 23/M
Add: Sanischare camp, F1/01
Case: Deep cut injury Nape/ Rt. thigh with severe internal bleeding (brought dead at 9.40 p.m.)
First aid management were provided to the following people in the camp:
1) Name: Lachu man Subedi 18/M
Add: Sanischare camp, J3/35
Case: Skull injury.
2) Name: Nikhita Kafley 3/F
Add: Sanischare camp, D2/46
Case: tear gas poisoning
3) Name: Mousam Rai. 5 ½/ M
Add: Sanischare camp, D2/44
Case: tear gas poisoning
4) Name: Sunil Rai 3/M
Add: Sanischare camp, D1/35
Case: tear gas poisoning
The ambulance movement to the camp was there in the early hours of 23rd Feb. But the movement to the camps was not allowed by the locals in the afternoon and on subsequent days. A delivery case was managed to be brought to the hospital only after three days. The dead body of Gopal Khadka who was killed on 22nd evening could not be removed from the morgue in Mangalbare till 25th evening as the near and dear ones could not be brought out of the camp because the locals had a clash with the police. Several requests to UNHCR and Govt. of Nepal and particularly police authority to provide conveyance for the family of the deceased was futile. The UNHCR and the agency concerned were ready to support and were constantly monitoring the situation. The leaders took a risk to send an ambulance via the village taking rough road to the camp and collected his relatives at about 5.30 p.m. on 25th of Feb. the cremation was carried out in Mai river and it took till 11.30 p.m. The relatives were escorted to the camp late in the night with the help of two ambulances taking the same route from the remote village. The police at Urlabari and Damak were informed about this but not asked to escort owing to the risk as the locals had a clash with them at Pathari.
For four days the ambulance could not go and 29 patients discharged in Biratnagar are stranded in Biratnagar without needful management. When these patients had conversation with the AMDA staff they were told that AMDA would not be able to send a vehicle but if the camp secretaries take the risk to take them they could do that. The patients requested the camp secretaries by telephone to help them to come to the camp. But the camp secretaries being refugees can only request the agencies concerned and the Govt. to provide necessary assistance which could not materialize. It is learned that the UNHCR is constantly requesting the govt. of Nepal to calm down the situation, so that the operation exercise is not hampered in camps.
There has been information from the camp since there is no vehicle movement to the camp there is no diesel to supply drinking water to the camp population. Therefore, UNHCR taking all support of the Government should take immediate action to solve this problem.
Please note that this information is received through the Camp Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of the Camp Management Committee, Sanischare camp. The report is checked and confirmed with BRDSCC members actively involved in the monitoring of the situation. The incident is somehow related to the inadequate assistances for the refugees like briquette in particular.
Finally the BRDSCC and the camp secretaries thank all the concerned for the initiative taken so far towards resolving the issue to this extent and further request to take an urgent action to provide security and protection to the refugees in present situation.