KATHMANDU, Dec 5: A three-point agreement reached between CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and a section of the Badarmude bomb blast victims has drawn flak from various quarters including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Maoist insurgency victims' groups.
Madhavi Bhatta, a member of the TRC, has taken strong exception to the agreement, saying it goes against the spirit of transitional justice. “With elections just days ahead, Pushpa Kamal Dahal has tried to buy votes. We are extremely concerned. that Dahal's agreement calls into question investigations into the conflict era cases by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the possibility of fair trials,” she said. “This agreement can influence the course of justice.”
“Political parties, elections and war crimes are different things. Dahal has tried to get away with war crimes and counter the TRC's investigations by turning it into an election agenda,” she further said..
At least 38 people were killed and 72 others injured when the then Maoist rebels ambushed an overcrowded bus at Bandarmude in Madi, Chitwan, on June 6, 2005.
Chairman Dahal, who is running for parliament from Chitwan, reached the agreement with Badarmude victims during a poll campaign organized in Madi by the left alliance . The agreement is to provide the families of the deceased and the injured employment opportunities or allowances as needed and to construct a memorial on 2.5-acres. The agreement was reached between Chairman Dahal and five representatives of victims of the incident.
Issuing a press statement on Monday, Badarmude Victims Committee, the official organization of victims of the bombing incident, said their serious attention has been drawn by the agreement, which they said was reached under monetary influence. The statement issued by Committee Chairperson Mukti Nath Neupane alleged that Dahal, who has failed to create a justice-friendly environment, is trying to woo voters through the agreement.
The group has demanded security for the victims' families, punishment for the guilty as per national and international law, establishment of a historical museum at the incident site and reparations for the families of those killed in the incident.
Issuing a separate statement, the Conflict Victims Common Platform (CVCP) has said the move by political parties to ignore the conflict victims or use them for personal gain, while flouting the verdict of the Supreme Court to punish those involved in crimes against humanity during the conflict period, had raised serious questions over their commitment to human rights, rule of law and transitional justice.
Warning political parties against using conflict victims as a pawn to woo voters, the victims' group has urged the government to address the issue of conflict victims through the transitional justice mechanisms in a systematic manner.