KATHMANDU, June 1: Padam Kumar Kunwar, who slapped UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the face, has been appearing at the district administration office at intervals of 15 days for the last seven months. He laments that the legal action brought against him has not been dropped even though Dahal himself has publicly pardoned him.
Stating that he was feeling psychologically harassed because of the unrelenting legal course, he has urged the authorities to end the process so that he need not appear before the local administration office every fortnight. He said he was desperately in need of relief from the mental stress and wanted to live a normal life again.
Kunwar´s whole family was involved in the Maoist insurgency for which they sacrificed their entire happiness and his elder sister was injured, but now the family remained neglected. He slapped Dahal at a function in Kathmandu last November.
Kunwar was released from custody after Dahal publicly pardoned him. Dahal also sent his aide to have him released. But Kunwar had declined when Dahal offered to post the bail amount. But he has received help from across the country and outside.
Kunwar has said that he slapped Dahal, recalling the assurances given by the Maoist leaders during the insurgency and feeling a sense of betrayal.
“For seven months persons using 10 different phone numbers have been asking about my whereabouts but do not disclose who they are. I also tried time and again to meet Dahal but his aides did not give me a chance to put forward my clarifications on slapping him. I felt unsafe,” Kunwar told Republica, giving reasons for holding a press meet in the capital on Friday.
“I suspect the intentions of Dahal and his aides and doubt if the pardon was real.”
Kunwar had appeared at Kathmandu District Office on Thursday and he was given 14 June as the next date for his appearance there.
“Neither do they ask me any questions when I appear at the office nor do they seek any further information from me. I don´t know why the government keeps making me appear before them. I don´t know if Dahal´s pardon is real or fake,” said Kunwar.
“I should not go and present myself at the next date. I don´t care if the government arrests me,” added Kunwar. He said he has also approached social networks, hoping they would get Dahal to urge the government to end his ordeal.
Meanwhile, Dahal´s personal secretary Chudamani Khadka said that Dahal has already given his pardon and the case was no longer connected with him or his party.
“It is the concern of the government,” added Khadka, arguing that it was just a conspiracy of forces that were against elections and federalism, a conspiracy to defame Dahal and his party.
After the slapping incident, the UCPN (Maoist) had decided at a meeting that it was a conspiracy and some leaders had pointed the finger at the CPN-Maoist. Immediately thereafter, the CPN-Maoist had reacted saying it was not involved.
Interestingly, Kathmandu Chief District Officer Basant Raj Gautam said that Kunwar´s case has not run its legal course just because of the pardon by Dahal. He argued that the case was sub-judice and it would take its course. He said Kunwar should keep appearing on the dates given him until the legal process was completed.
“The case will come to end only after it completes its legal course,” said Gautam, adding that the process would continue for seven more months.
“We will treat Kunwar in accordance with the legal process if he misses an appearance date at the district administration office,” said Gautam when asked if the government would arrest him.