RUKUM, Sept 15: National Children´s Day was marked on Friday with great fervor across the country, organizing programs and rallies in which pledges were made to protect children´s rights.
However, it meant little to the five children of Devasari Pun, who died over a year ago after a prolonged suffering caused by bullet injuries received in the conflict era.
After the death of their mother, Lalita, 17, Sanu, 13, Hira, 11, Kabita, 9, Janam, 6, have been left to fend for themselves as their drunkard father has little concern for them.
Although their mother was a conflict victim, the children have not received any relief or benefits from the government. Lalita, Sanu and Hira have already stopped going to school due to the poor financial condition.
“We had to sell all the properties, including our house, for the treatment of our mother. What we earn is hardly enough for food and the house rent,” said Sanu. “I gave up studies to earn money by crushing stones.”
The Children´s Day, she said, might mean something to the school going children. "Do the children like us have any rights?” Sanu questioned.
The Pun siblings would not have to quit school had the government provided them scholarships they were entitled to as conflict victims.
Some 491 children of conflict affected families in the district have received government scholarships, but the Puns have been deprived of the opportunity.
The government has announced Rs 500,000 relief amount for the families of those killed during the conflict. However, the Pun family has not received any compensation from the government even though she died last year from the bullet injury received a decade ago.
Pun, of Garayala VDC-1 in Rukum, was shot in the leg by the Nepali Army on November 25, 2002. Pun died of cancer that developed from the gunshot wound in lack of proper medical treatment. The Pun family, some people in the know, said was not provided the compensation as she did not die during the conflict, although she died of the wound received in war time.