On 6 June 2005, the Maoists ambushed an overcrowded bus in Bandarmude, Chitwan. 38 people died and more than 70 were wounded in the attack. It was by far the worst terrorist attack perpetrated by the Maoists during the conflict.
Almost eight years after the incident, UCPN(M) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal visited Bandarmude and announced that a relief package worth Rs 6,000,000 had been earmarked for the victims. However, the PM’s personal secretary later clarified that the government had made no such decision. It is unfortunate that leaders of a party responsible for the tragedy in Chitwan cannot even come to an agreement on how to help the victims.
Dahal has now said that the money will be released from the Maoist party’s treasury. But the ongoing rift between party chairman Dahal and PM Bhattarai, coupled with Dahal’s reputation of double speak, raise doubts over any probable relief for the victims.
Locals of Bandarmude have been denied justice for far too long. They have seen the perpetrators of heinous crimes get political protection and suffer silently as the killers walk freely alongside the PM and other high-ranking government officials.
The families of victims are not alone in seeking justice. Thousands of people across the country still don’t know who killed their loved ones. If justice is not given to these people, no one will have much faith in the country’s judiciary.
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