8 Dec, Kathmandu. While the song was playing in the background, she took a pencil in her hand, sat quietly and started writing the name ‘Gita Chamar’. It has not been long since Chamar came to know that the spelling of his name in letters is like this.
The students, who were sitting in a sit-in at Maitighar Mandala to meet him and 15 other friends, learned to write their names after seeing a lapel pin on their attendance register. Then Gita started writing her name in the register and also in the copy. Probably because he has just started playing with letters, he likes to write his name. But Gita did not come to Kathmandu to learn the alphabet.
It has been a month since a group including Gita staged a second phase of sit-in at Maitighar Mandal demanding investigation and action against those involved in the violence against Nankuni Dhobi and Nirmala Kurmi’s suspicious death. The demands of some who started the movement after them were heard and many new demands were added to the movement. As time went on, this small ‘detachment’ of 16 women became more and more intense in the fight for justice. But the state did not seem ready to listen. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. “
The group, led by Ruby Khan, arrived in Kathmandu on December 26 for the second phase of the agitation. After that, every day at 10 am, Nirmala Kurmi and Nankuni Dhobi are brought to Maitighar Mandal from Kalanki carrying play cards demanding justice, sit-in and return at around 7 pm. While walking quietly, the state did not listen to them. Perhaps, since last week, they have started whistling, but they are still alone.
The movement of this group now seems to be marginalized in Maitighar where there are many movements every day, they are sitting quietly on one side of the road. “We came to Kathmandu on foot for the last 20 days to tell our story to the state,” said Ruby. Now we are becoming more and more isolated, it seems that it is not possible only by peaceful agitation.
Earlier, the women, who had left Nepalgunj on September 26, had entered Kathmandu on September 6 and then started agitation. Even then, the state considered their legitimate demands as ‘illegitimate’. The leader of the movement, Ruby, was subjected to numerous insults, imprisonment and lawsuits. She was released following widespread criticism of her arrest, but Ruby did not give up. The other 16 women who were raising their voices did not leave. Therefore, even for a month and a half of the second phase of the movement, they are voicing their voices as loudly as they can. But their voices are lost in the noise around the family home. They go to Kalanki carrying placards and blowing whistles to stay in the evening. I don’t know, what is the position of this woman who is seeking justice for the atrocities committed against two women with great courage and still great confidence?
Their demand is not so big and unnatural. These women have made a general demand that legal action should be taken against those who disappeared Nirmala Kurmi and tortured Nankuni Dhobi.
An investigation by the Home Ministry has said that the role of former lawmaker Badshah Kurmi in the disappearance of Nirmala Kurmi is doubtful. The government report has concluded that he should be investigated. Those who are fighting for Nirmala’s justice are saddened that the government has not acted as recommended by the same government report.
“Women have been wronged. If we don’t speak, who will speak?” When not to speak now? “We are in the movement,” said Gita Chamar.
How did the movement arise?
In January 2008, Nirmala Kurmi reached the office of the Women’s Rights Forum in Nepalgunj carrying a petition. In December of the same year, his two sons Ram Sagar and Suresh died mysteriously. Her husband Mahul Kurmi passed away in 2062 BS due to diabetes. According to the agitating party, after the death of Nirmala’s husband, the land mafia set its eyes on Nirmala’s four bighas and 10 katthas of land and it was led by the then CA member Badshah Kurmi.
The government investigation committee also seems to agree. “After the death of their sons, the ownership of the land in the name of Babu Mahalu and his eldest son Ram Sagar was taken away by Badshah Kurmi,” said the report of the investigation committee.
After the death of her sons, Nirmala was further tortured. According to Ruby Khan, who is now leading the movement for justice for Nirmala, that is why she has gone to the office of the Women’s Rights Forum to seek help. “At that time, Badshah Kurmi, a member of the Constituent Assembly, took Nirmala’s identity card and citizenship documents under his control and brutally beat her,” Ruby said. Only then did Nirmala come in contact with the forum which has been working in the field of women’s rights.
But when the king found out that she was struggling to get out of the torture, Nirmala disappeared. “After he was abducted by Badshah Kurmi, we ran away. On everyone’s initiative, we were able to rescue Nirmala Kurmi from Badshah Kurmi’s house at around 10:30 pm,” said Ruby. “We kept Nirmala in a safe house.”
While Nirmala was kept in the safe house, on the initiative of local human rights activists and the administration, Badshah returned the documents and took a written commitment that he would not do anything in the future. But when Nirmala returned from the safe house, the torture started. Suddenly she disappeared, the property in her name was gone. Then the women of Nepalgunj woke up and the movement started.
The women, who are fighting for Nirmala’s justice, were told that the case against her should be investigated. “Even the public prosecutor’s office was in favor of the perpetrator, so we had no choice but to protest,” said Ruby.
According to him, it was the police who publicized that Nankuni Dhobi, a victim of domestic violence, had committed suicide. In the Women’s Rights Forum, Nankuni had filed a petition alleging that she was tortured by her family members. So they combined the heinous violence against two women in one place and started a marathon of justice.
“We have been agitating for an investigation and action against the accused in both the cases from the very beginning, but the state has always been trying to silence us. There was violence from the state side, ‘said Ruby.
As the agitation intensified, a committee was formed to investigate. The government team formed to investigate the incident and the group agitating for an investigation into the deaths of Nirmala and Nankuni have the same conclusion. According to the report of the investigation committee, the widow and single woman were forcibly snatched by Badshah Kurmi, Kuwar Babban Singh, Dhirendra Singh, Ammar Lal Kurmi, Indian citizen Munim Kurmi and others. But the state, which should have taken action, remained silent. The accused of the incident started walking openly. And again, the same group of 16 women has entered Kathmandu to seek the support of the state.
The long battle for justice
The movement of these human rights activists, who are living in the Maiti Ghar in the center of Kathmandu and making their demands day by day, is getting sidelined day by day, the power of voice seems to be fading away day by day. But the belief in justice is not dead.
Meanwhile, the two major political parties of the country concluded their party general conventions. The new leadership was elected, but no one documented or spoke about them. Ministers keep coming from Pulchowk to the administrative building Singha Durbar the same way. The highest body of justice, the Supreme Court, is there. No solution has been found to end the movement. That is why they have to shout and say their thing this time.
“Women have been wronged. If we don’t speak, who will speak?” When not to speak now? “We are in the movement,” said Gita Chamar. These women, who are just learning to spell the last letter of the alphabet, do not understand the rules and regulations of the state. But their conscience can distinguish between justice and injustice, can evoke the spirit of movement. That is why they are constantly searching for justice.
Photos: Chandra Bahadur Ale