Monday, December 12, 2011

'I fought for justice, but fell victim to injustice myself'

SAKRAM (DANG), Dec 12: For Hiramoti Singh Thakuri, joining the Maoist insurgency was more of a compulsion than inspiration.
Married off at the age of 15, Hiramoti struggled not only with grinding poverty, but also with her drunkard husband in the village of Nayakbada, Jajarkot.

Leaving her two-and-a-half years child under the care of her mother, Hiramoti, aka Namuna, finally left home to join insurgency in the spring of 2003. “I just wanted to break free from the harsh realities around me; it had nothing to do with revolt,” she says.

Despite the ordeals of war, she felt that her life was better than before. She fell in love with an injured colleague Sudhir Pun from Rukum, married him, and the couple gave birth to a child. When the insurgency was finally over in 2006, she dreamt of living a family life in society.

But fate dealt a cruel blow to Hiramoti, now 27, who worked as a section vice-commander during the insurgency. She is one of the few combatants dropped out during the second round of verification by the UNMIN.

“With baby on my back, I waited for hours to get registered. But the commanders told me that the quotas in the cantonment were already over. They told us whether we get registered or not, it would make no difference,” a visibly tired Hiramoti says.

She got Rs 2,000 per month for three months, and is not quite sure why she stopped receiving the money. Now, she lives with her child near the Sakram satellite camp in Dang in a room that costs her Rs 250 a month.

Her family survives on the meager salary of her husband Sudhir, who lost his left foot after being injured in a battle.

Some PLA members say the commanders had deliberately left some helpless combatants out of the cantonments during the second round of verification, replacing them with their kin. “Yes, some combatants have indeed suffered injustice, but I am not in a condition to do anything for them,” says a PLA man.

Bhim Kumari Darel from Rukum, also a wife of injured combatant, too was dropped out during the verification process.

“They left their relatives in safe havens while others took the forefront at the time of war. And now the genuine fighters are pushed out of the cantonments to let the relatives of the leaders reap the benefits,” says Nirmal Pariyar, an injured combatant at Sakram camp.

According to him, there are dozens of helpless personnel who have fallen victim to the injustice of the commanders.

As no separate arrangement has been made for the combatants who were injured during the insurgency, Hiramoti is not sure how long her family can survive with the money her injured husband will get in voluntary retirement.

“I fought for justice, but fell victim to injustice myself,” says Hiramoti.

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