Eight years on mother still searches for her missing son
BANEPA, Aug 19: In the last eight years, not a single evening has passed without Sabitri Ghimire of Ugratara Janagal VDC-8 in Kavrepalanchok district lighting a lamp and praying for her missing son´s return.
"I always see my son´s face in the flames of the lamp," says the 58-year-old mother.
"I hope my son will return some day in future." She believes her son is still alive in some corner of the world. "If my son was no more, I would have had some hints in my dreams. I have never had a bad dream about him."
In Dhulikhel, Sabitri once met an elderly woman whose son had returned after 12 years. "She had also lit the lamp every night for 12 years," says Sabitri. "As per her suggestions, I too started lighting the lamp."
Sabitri´s oldest son, Prakash Ghimire, who was studying journalism in Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Kathmandu, had disappeared without a trace in 2004. His whereabouts remain unknown since then. Sabitri has heard that Prakash was detained by plain-clothes policemen from a rented room in Jadibuti, Bhaktapur.
"I heard from Prakash´s friends that he was whisked away in a van,"she says. "Some say he was taken to Nakkhu jail while others say he was detained at an army barrack atop Shivapuri hill. I have not seen him in a long time, and I have not heard a single word about him."
Sabitri searched for her missing son in all the nooks and crannies of Kathmandu. "I may lose my way in Banepa town but not in Kathmandu," she quips. "I know each and every alley of the capital since I have wandered there dozens of times in search of my dear son. I have yet not given up hopes."
At times, Sabitri has walked up to Kathmandu all the way from Banepa. "Even when I had no money for bus fares, I walked to Kathmandu," says she. "In Kathmandu, I found many other women who had also lost their dear ones during the Maoist insurgency. After meeting them, I tried to console myself."
Prakash, 25 then, was the most reliable of the three sons, according to Sabitri. After he went missing, Prakash´s father Bed Prasad Ghimire become a chain-smoker. "My husband frequently falls sick. I have spent a huge amount of money in his treatment," she says.
Sabitri´s house, built in 1985, was badly shaken by an earthquake in 1988. Cracks have now appeared all over the walls by now. But, she has no money to repair the dilapidated house. Nor has she ever thought of it. "I only think of my missing son," she says.
In Kavrepalanchok district, 20 people disappeared forcefully during the Maoist insurgency, according to Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Nepal. Most of them, including Prakash, are still missing.