The other day government made public the report on the disappearance of Jayasingh Dhami in the Mahakali River. The much-awaited report has disclosed that the incident had taken place in the presence of the Indian Border Security Force (IBSF). Dhami, 33, from Khangdang Mal of Byas Rural Municipality-2 in Darchula fell into the Mahakali on July 30 as he was crossing the river using the wire crossing known as tuin. The report has recommended that the government take diplomatic initiatives to bring the responsible to book and provide compensation and relief to Dhami’s family, according to the news report of this daily. It has asked the government to make proper arrangements for the upbringing and education of the dependent family members. The government has already announced to provide one million rupees in compensation for Dhami’s family
On August 1, the government had formed a panel under the convenorship of Joint Secretary Janardan Gautam to probe the incident. The details of the report are yet to be published but it hinted that there was the hand of Indian border guard behind the occurrence of the incident. Several media reports, based on the accounts of eyewitnesses, had claimed that IBSF personnel cut the tuin cable as Dhami was about to reach other side of the river. However, Indian authorities have denied that its security personnel snapped the wire while Singh was crossing it at Malghat. Dhami’s whereabouts is still unknown. The report has come one month after the probe committee was constituted to bring out the truth and fact about the tragic incident. The five-member probe team had prepared it by conducting on-site monitoring, meeting with the victim’s family members and talking to the eyewitnesses.
The government has been under pressure to make public the report. There were widespread concerns that the delay in making public the report will give negative impressions and the relatives of the deceased will be deprived of justice. By disclosing the report, the government has demonstrated that it is serious about providing justice to the victims. Now it should implement the suggestions of the report at the earliest. Nepal should put forth the truth before the Indian side so that the latter will be ready to punish the security personnel involved in it. Nepal government should be proactive to protect its citizens residing near the border. There have been frequent reports that they are subject to excesses committed by the Indian border security forces.
This particular case brings into light the woes of Nepali living in the far-west part of country bordering India. Nepalis have to use the Indian territory for mobility. This is very remote area where the state’s presence is almost nil. If there were proper infrastructure such as road and bridges, Dhami and other locals would not have been forced to use improvised wire crossing. They have to depend on India to travel to their own district headquarters and buy essential supplies. Dhami, who was set to fly abroad for work, was on his way to Kathmandu to prepare some documents. Dhami’s tragic disappearance should be a wake-up call for the government, political parties and civil society that there should not be more delay in addressing the conditions of people living there.