Nepal’s interim government and rights activists heaved a sigh of relief as a couple on a hunger strike for 48 days seeking justice for their dead son ended their fast late on Saturday night.
Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Ganga Maya ended their fast little after 1am by drinking fruit juice in the presence of government officials and doctors at the intensive care of unit of Bir Hospital here.
The couple from Gorkha district was on fast-unto-death seeking arrest and action against Maoist cadres accused of abducting and murdering their son Krishna Prasad in 2004 during the country’s civil war.
The fast ended after an agreement between the couple and a government team headed by Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Despite hours of negotiation, they had refused to eat anything. They finally relented around 1am,” director of Bir Hospital Dr Buland Thapa was quoted by local reports.
As per the agreement, the government will arrest all accused and bring them to justice, provide compensation to the couple and arrange for their security and rehabilitation.
Nepal’s civil war had resulted in over 13,000 deaths and nearly 1,300 forced disappearances following atrocities committed by both Maoists and government forces.
But there’s been no action on providing justice to the affected families due to failure of successive governments in constituting a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as per the peace deal in 2006.
The Adhikari couple’s fast had galvanised rights activists seeking justice for all cases of abuse, kept the government on tenterhooks and angered the Maoists who threatened protests.
With their health deteriorating, the couple was shifted to the intensive care unit of Bir Hospital. The country’s Supreme Court directed the government to force feed the couple if needed to save them.
But the couple refused to eat anything till the government arrested those accused of killing their son.
Due to intense pressure created by the fast, the police reopened the case and on Friday arrested one of the 11 Maoist cadres accused of murdering Krishna Prasad. More arrests are expected in coming days.
“We will launch street protests if our cadre is not released. Cases related to the civil war should be dealt with by the TRC,” said Unified Communist Party of Nepal spokesperson Agni Sapkota.
On Saturday, the party had called a strike in three districts in protest against arrest of their cadre. But they were forced to withdraw it at noon due to public pressure and the Teej festivities.