Dahal signs reparation deal with Badarmudhe victims ahead of polls

December 4, 2017 06:00 AM Republica


As per the agreement, the families of the deceased and injured would be provided employment or allowances on need basis and a memorial will be constructed in 2.5 acre of land. 

KATHMANDU, Dec 4: Just ahead of the second phase of the federal and provincial elections, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday signed a three-point agreement with the victims of the infamous Bandarmude massacre in violation of the election codes of conduct.

At the height of the Maoist insurgency 12 years ago (on June 6, 2005), the then Maoist rebels had detonated a powerful bomb on a moving passenger bus in Madi, Bandarmude of Chitwan district, killing 38 commuters and injuring 72 others.

The agreement was made during the poll campaign organized by the left alliance -- Maoist Center and CPN-UML -- in Madi. 

Dahal signed the agreement with five representatives on behalf of the victims of the incident. However, official committee of the victims was not involved in the agreement.

As per the agreement, the families of the deceased and injured would be provided employment or allowances on need basis and a memorial will be constructed in 2.5 acre of land. 

The signing of the agreement just three days ahead of the polls, has raised concerns that it was intended to influence the voters. Dahal is contesting for parliament from Chitwan's constituency-3, which includes the site of the massacre.

In the past 12 years a lot has changed -- the comprehensive peace agreement was signed between the government and the then rebel Maoists to end the insurgency that claimed 17,000 lives, and Dahal became prime minister twice.

Although Dahal rarely spoke of the incident in the past years, he has set a pattern when to speak about it -- just before the elections. 

This is the second time that Dahal reached Madi in particular ahead of the polls after February 28, 2013 when he visited the place to inaugurate the Madi festival. During the visit, he had announced to provide a lump sum of Rs 6 million per family of the deceased.

Before signing the recent agreement with the victims, Dahal, about a month ago, had expressed guilt and remorse regarding the 'unfortunate' incident. 

Anyone found guilty of the massacre by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons would face action, he had said. However, victims have been complaining about the inefficiency of the TRC and delay in getting justice.

On June 6, 2005, the ill-fated bus (NA 2 Kha 3245) was heading toward Narayanghat from Ayodhyapuri when it was ambushed by the then Maoist rebels in Badarmude, in what Dahal describes as his worst mistake.

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