May 21, 2008. Kathmandu.
It’s a Kathmandu valley bandh today. People are shouting “Prachanda chor – desh chod”, “Laash dey ki ta Saash dey”, “Maobadi murdabad”, “Hatyaara lai faashi dey” and so on.
The reason: A Koteshwor (Kathmandu) based businessman and social worker named Ramhari Shrestha was first abducted by Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army commanders, was taken to PLA camp in Chitawan and brutally beaten to death, then his dead body was thrown into the river. A different version of the story surfaced that Shrestha had already passed away in Birtamod hospital, two days earlier the PLA notified of his death.
[Pic 1: Raman, son of Ramhari Shrestha speaking in Ratnapark -“If one can get away with the murder of my father with 10 lakh rupees, I want to kill the killer of my father and give 10 lakh instead.”]
[Pic 2: From left, elder sister, mother, daughter and wife of Ramhari Shrestha – at Reporters Club]
In protest of the murder and demanding the formation of a high level commission to probe into the incident and bring the guilty ones to the doors of justice, family members, relatives of Ramhari Shrestha along with the locals of Koteshwor called a valley bandh today.
And people of the Kathmandu, it seems, supported the cause. Normal activities were significantly cut down, business and shops remained closed and transportation was almost completely halted in the capital.
May the justice prevail and may the reign of impunity be shattered. Even though, time and again, this sort of excessively optimism has only brought equally excessive disappointment; may the guilty ones get swiftly and justly punished – because NO sort of financial compensation to the Shrestha family would justify this heinous crime.
In the mean time, however, burning tyres in the streets is NOT a solution!
A common scene during demonstration: foul black clouds of suffocating smoke – erupting out from the burning rubber tyres in the middle of the roads. The stench of carbon mono oxide makes it harder to breathe for several days to come; the black dust of burnt rubber troubles any one walking or driving through the road.
This must stop!
And, vandalism of public/private properties is NOT a solution, either.
How many times had we not witnessed a “peaceful” demonstration turning into an ugly episode of devilish destructions?
Vandalism and gunda-gardi/dada-giri by sneaky opportunists, spineless revenge-seeking cowards and a bunch of lunatic demolition mob – ecstatic in senseless destruction!
This must stop.
[Pic 3: The tyres emitting hazardous smoke at New Baneswhor]
[Pic 4: Dada-giri]
[Pic 5,6: Street of Koteshwor later in the evening, covered with the remains of burnt tyres.]
[Pics 1, 2, 3 and 4 – by Dipesh Shrestha. Pic 5, 6 – by Shut Up]