KATHMANDU, Feb28: For how long can someone plead relentlessly before the state, hit the streets, distribute pamphlets, chant the same slogans, reiterate the their story to the media every now and then and yet show no sign of fatigue? The daughters of Chorimaiya Maharjan, who has been missing for exactly a year now, have been doing all that.
What is clearly visible in the eyes of the two girls is intense pain, deep resentment towards the authorities and yet an immense fighting spirit in the search for their mother.
Sudden separation from their beloved mother has devastated Sudha and Sushila, but they refuse to have their attention distracted. In course of searching for their mother, the bachelor level students have met the prime minister twice, spoken personally with the home minister and the inspector general of police several times, done everything to mobilize people´s support, and staged regular protests in the streets over the past one year.
After Maharjan went missing, the two daughters have been getting financial support from their eldest sister Subhardra.
“Life was fun for us when our mother was with us. But now nothing amuses us anymore, we cannot express what we are going through,” said Sudha while marching in a rally taken out in the capital on Wednesday to mark one year since her mother went missing. “But we still have strong hope that she will come back to us and we´ll keep on searching until then,” she added.
A woman going missing from the capital in broad daylight and the state not moving an inch closer in the search during one whole year cannot be taken as normal, notes Sushila. “Every time we ask them about our mother they turn us back, saying the investigation is ongoing and whatever they know cannot be revealed ´due to the sensitivity of the case.´ But how long can that type of answer satisfy us?” she questions.
It was on February 28 last year that the daughters last saw Chhorimaiya Maharjan. Following a complaint in the case, the police detained prime suspect Nikki Singh on April 11, but the investigation never went further, according to Sudha. “The detention of Singh was just to hoodwink us. They never had any wish to search for our mother,” she said.
According to the daughters, Nikki Singh, a close friend of Maharjan, had borrowed Rs 5 million from her to invest in Dhukuti (a mutual financial transaction), and the abduction took place after Maharjan asked for the money back.
During press meets and on other occasions, the Maharjan sisters have publicly accused Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar of providing political protection to Singh, who is now at large.
But Ghachchhadar has slammed such charges as baseless. “I am very serious about this case, and the investigation is ongoing,” Gachhadar told Sudha and Sushila during a press meet at the National Women´s Commission last month.
But the sisters have termed it as nothing but lip service. “He will not do anything to find our mother. In fact, ordinary citizens do not have any value in this country. But why we are still struggling is because we cannot help it, we see her every day in our dream,” said Sushila, unable to control her tears.
“Me and my sister see her in our dream almost every day. She comes and sits close to us, watching us but not smiling. After we wake up she vanishes and that leaves us heart-broken,” said Sudha, adding that they are living just to have a glimpse of their mother. “We would give everything just to see her once.”