Translated from the Nayapatrika daily – June 29, 2008 Issue:
The law has forbidden making any child (below 14 years old) work. However, one former aide minister has not only kept an eight year old boy as a house worker, he has beaten and injured the boy using pipe and khukuri.
The one who demonstrated this cruelty upon the innocent boy is – former aide minister and leader of Nepali Congress Sarbadhan Rai. Rai, in drunken spree, carried out this beating over his house worker Bikram Shrestha on Thursday, June 26. A “Female Tole Sudhar Samiti” at Naraynsthan had rescued the boy and taken to Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj for treatment.
According to Bikram, Rai accused him of stealing money (Rs2000) and pounded him with a pipe. Bikram’s body is covered with scars, black and blue marks and swellings. Rai used to torture the boy before as well, and one time, Rai even stroke him with a khukuri.
Rai also used to kick Bikram on his head almost everyday.
However, wife of former minister Rai, Deepa has taken the responsibility of beating. “I beat the boy, with stick. Sir does not beat him, he loves the boy so much.” She also accused the boy of stealing the money. “Rs2000 was lost and I thought the boy stole it, so I thrashed him,” said Deepa. She added, “If I knew that this incident would be covered by media, I would not have done this.”
According to Bikram, former minister Rai used to drink alcohol and used to make him stand guard. “He drinks Royal Stag till 1 AM in the morning, he asks for ice, or water or glass. If I fell asleep, he would kick me and wake me up.”
Wife of former minister Rai, Deepa, also used to beat the boy. She used to wake him up as early as 4 AM in the morning and make him sweep the floor and wash the dishes. He had to wash clothes, wash dishes and bring vegetables from the market
Deepa had brough Birkam from her maternal home from Ranke of Ilam some seven months ago. Deepa’s mother convinced Birkam’s father that the minister’s family would take care of his studies.
Bikram is currently taking a refuge at CWIN (Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre). He is still afraid that the former minister will find him and take him back. “I want to go back to my home, but my step mom beats me as well.”
What will happen?
An officer at CWIN has registered a case against Sarbadhan Rai at the local police station. This case will most likely never see the doors of the court. The family of the boy has been given Rs100,000 as compensation and this case would definitely be buried underneath the files of other similar cases. Jail sentence for Sarbadha Rai? Unimaginable.. won’t happen here in Nepal – despite countless so called anti-child labour NGO$ and INGO$ and media coverage (that too only by Naya Patrika.. none of the big newspapers/media covered this incident).
Sarbadhan Rai will most probably still drink Royal Stag every night, his wife will still be calling him “Sir” and they will have another boy/girl “nokkar” in their house.
This case is so similar with one kid named Rupak, who used to work as a “nokkar” in the house of one reputed school principal in Kalanki. He had a similar fate.. his family was “paid off” well and the case never saw the daylight. (This was some four or five years ago). The guys at CWIN might still remember how they helped bury Rupak’s case!
(Photos taken by a “friend” – who almost got jailed!)
But this might be all futile – most of the households of rich and elites have child workers or “nokkar”, “kancha”, “kanchi” and the child abuse stories of Bikram and Rupak might be taking place in different versions and different proportions.
While the media went absolutely bananas over Kamal Nepali, the likes of Bikram will keep on getting abused and tortured.