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Tortured ninth grader in Nepal innocent

by The Kathmandu Post Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 at 8:42 PM

"They asked about my family members and told me that they even would rape my small sister back at home after they knew I had a sister at home," the boy stammered.

Maoist’ yesterday, innocent today; ninth grader’s torturous ordeal

By Ghanashyam Ojha

KATHMANDU, Dec 17 Handcuffed and skinny, with eyes filled with tears, 16-year-old Diwakar Adhikari, says he had a great desire to be an army man in his life. "But I will never be an army man," he broke down sobbing, looking at his poor, helpless father squatting in front of him.

The ninth grader studying at Mansing Dharma Secondary School, Shangla Village Development Committee (VDC), Kathmandu, was at the same time, constantly looking at the Supreme Court bench which later ordered his release.

A division bench consisting of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Kedar Nath Upadhyaya, and Justice Govinda Bahadur Shrestha were through the court hearing of Adhikari who was arrested last year under the Terrorist and Destructive Activities (Control and Prevention) Act (TADA).

According to Bhadragol Prison officials, the formalities for Adhikari’s release will need some more time and he will be released tomorrow. But it took hours for Adhikari to narrate the ordeal he had to go through during his almost year-long detention.

Adhikari was trying to forget the mental and physical torture meted out to him at the army headquarters, where he was forced to admit ‘his Maoist links.’

Narrating his ordeal there, the lad said that the army men asked him to disclose the name of his Maoist leaders and their whereabouts. On every denial of having any knowledge about the Maoists, they threw cold water all over his naked body. He was frequently put into a pit and they threatened to take his life if he did not admit of being a Maoist.

"They asked about my family members and told me that they even would rape my small sister back at home after they knew I had a sister at home," the boy stammered. "I was asked quite non-sense questions like whether I ever had sexual relations with anyone."

On the fourth day, he was terrified when an armyman asked him to put on an army uniform. He overheard that he would be taken to a jungle and shot dead.

He knew that he would be killed and finally said that he was a Maoist. "It was the only option to save my life," he recalls.

He vividly remembers the day a year back, when two plain-clothes army men picked him up from his class, on charges of being a Maoist.

Speechless, Adhikari could not argue with the army personnel as they said he was arrested under TADA, the Act promulgated after the spell of emergency, to deal with Maoist related cases.

"They did not listen to me at all. They told me they had to interrogate me," he said.

Narrating further, Adhikari says that while being taken to the army headquarters, he remembered the incident that occured in his school few days back. A group of Maoist students had come to his school and demanded a cash amount of Rs 10,000 from the school headmaster.

The helpless headmaster did not comply with the Maoist demand. "We were in our class and saw our headmaster being beaten and his face smeared black and we came out to help him," Adhikari went on. The Maoists then fled the scene.

After about two weeks they again visited the school and repeated their demand. The headmaster, the boy said, gave Rs 10,000 to the Maoists as demanded. They then asked the headmaster to distribute their membership forms to the students.

"I was reluctant to take the membership form but the headmaster asked me to follow their orders, in order to avert possible punishment," he said.

"It was a usual day, I had forgotten about the membership form like all my friends, I was studying in my class, when armymen took me in their van, claiming that I was a Maoist," the boy continued.

The boy holds the VDC chairman Mani Bikram Kunwar responsible for his arrest. "It must be Mani Bikram Kunwar, the VDC chairman who is very powerful," the boy said. "Kunwar is known for his notoriety in the village and usually tortures the villagers who go against him," the boy said. "It was one of his cruel activities, as he had picked up a quarrel with my father a few months back."

After his forced ‘confession’, he was deported to Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu and later to Bhadragol Prison, on charges of being a Maoist.

His parents were not given any information about his whereabouts for almost 11 months after his arrest.

After about a year, the poor father Achyut Adhikari got a tip about his son’s whereabouts. With the help of Centre to Assist and Protect Child Rights of Nepal (CAP-CRON), a non-government organisation, a case was filed in the Supreme Court last week. The Court today issued an order to release Adhikari.

The court verdict came following the writ petition filed by an advocate Bal Krishna Mainali urging the court to immediately release Adhikari as he was innocent.

Although the court ordered the immediate release of Adhikari, he was not released today citing few technical problems. According to the prison official, he would be released tomorrow.

The Kathmandu Post

SC orders schoolboy's release

The Supreme Court Tuesday instructed the concerned security bodies to release Diwakar Adhikari, a sixteen-year-old boy who has been held for over 13 months on charges of being affiliated with the Maoist rebels.

A joint bench represented by Chief Justice Kedar Nath Upadhyaya and justice Govinda Bahadur Shrestha instructed the government to release Adhikari after concluding that the trail did not prove the nine-grader guilty of any terrorist affiliation.

The army arrested the nine-grader from Thansing Secondary School in Manamaiju, which is close to Balaju in the capital. The security forces recovered an ID from Adhikari, which showed his affiliation with the All Nepal National Free Students' Union (ANNFSU).

Adhikari however said that he was forced to accept the card from his school principal who also gave away ten thousand rupees in the form of donation to the Maoist student body.

He said that the security personnel tortured him in custody even when he told them the truth. "I always fancied joining the army after completing my studies but my impression about the job has changed altogether," Adhikari told the media.

He said that he looked forward to give continuity to his studies after his release. am Dec 18

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