My translated story published in Nepali Times on Sunday
Ujjan Kumar Shrestha and Renuka Poudel first met at a rice mill in village where they fell in love at first sight. Ujjan was married so they decided to elope. Eventually, she won acceptance from his family members. But this love marriage claimed life of three innocents.
On 24 June 1998, Ujjan was still fast asleep at his home in Okhaldhunga-7 Tarkebari, when two porters woke him up at around 3 am, insisting that he take them to Ghodi Danda Bazar. On the way, after 45 minute walk, Ujjan was alarmed when a torch light fell on his eyes.
He saw a group of people hiding up in a terrace.
“Run” a sound warned from behind a stone boulder. The porters stepped back. They were Renuka’s brothers Dor Bahadur and Thal Bahadur, Balkrishna Dhungel, Puskar Gautam who had brought along their fellow comrades. Ujjan was scared to death. A bullet passed through his skull and he went tumbling down the terrace. He died instantly. They hurled his body into Kosi river.
Two months after the incident, both the porters admitted to the court they were acting under orders from Renuka’s bothers plan. Based on the statement of the porters, the Supreme Court slapped a life time imprisonment on Dhungel, who had fired the shot. Renuka’s brother and two porters have been released after serving the jail terms. Ujjan’s murderer Balkrishna Dhungel is now a Maoist CA member.
Meanwhile Puskar absconded to Kathmandu, and worked as a journalist for a decade. The police never arrested him. He went to the UK for higher studies in 2007, returned to Kathmandu and is now living in Delhi. His case is still pending in Okhaldhunga district court.
“Ujjan’s body was never found,” said Sabitri Shrestha, Ujjan’s sister who has been fighting for justice for the past 13 years. “We performed his last rites without his body as commanded by police.”
Despite threats from Maoists, Ujjan’s brother Ganesh Kumar filed a FIR against the culprits
Sabitri recalls that Dhungel had announced in a public speech in the village that he would murder Ganesh Kumar too. Fearing for his life, Sabitri asked him to come to Kathmandu.
When Ganesh Kumar returned home after four years in 2002, the Maoists were alert. On 22 November, six strangers came to his house while he was working in fields. Unable to recognise him, they asked his 14-year old daughter Ranjana to identify him. They shot him dead right in front of her.
Ranjana could not bear the guilt of pointing her father out to his murderers. She too committed suicide in 2006.
The Maoists have seized all property belonging to Ujjan’s family. They bombed his house and his family members have never been able to go back to village for the past five years.