Saturday, 29 January, 2022

Dekendra murder case: Three sentenced to life


By Kamal Sharma
Dailekh, Dec. 14: Dailekh District Court sentenced three people, including Bam Bahadur Khadka, aka Arun, to life imprisonment for their involvement in murdering journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa.
Issuing a verdict on Sunday, Justice Dandapani Lamichhane of the Dailekh District Court convicted the accused people of murder that took place 17 years ago.

Khadka had been absconding for a long time after the police issued an arrest warrant against nine people including him. He was arrested two years earlier by Kailali Police.
After the police presented Khadka before the district court, the case was reopened on March 4, 2020, and Khadka was sent to prison until the final verdict.

Along with him, the Dailekh court slammed life imprisonment of 20 years against Bam Bahadur Khadka, alias Mukti, resident of Bhagwatimai Rural Municipality-6, and Keshab Khadka of Dullu Municipality.
Similarly, the court sentenced Bhaktiram Lamichhane of Kohalpur Municipality-3 to three years in prison.

In the hearing that took place on Sunday, district attorney of District Government Attorney’s Office Hari Prasad Ghimire, and assistant district attorney Rukmeda Pokharel had presented the arguments on behalf of the government. Similarly, senior advocate Ek Raj Bhandari and advocates Shalikram Sapkota, Chhabi Subedi, and Sarbaraj Joshi had pleaded on behalf of the defendants.

Journalist Thapa was kidnapped on August 11, 2004 during the armed conflict and was beaten and buried alive in Naumule, Dwari by the Maoists. Thapa was killed 45 days after he was kidnapped.
The process to provide justice to Thapa began after his body was excavated from Naumule Rural Municipality-3 on July 28, 2008, with the efforts of the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after the peace process.

His body was cremated on 30 July 2008 after the completion of forensic tests.
On August 22, 2008, journalist Thapa’s wife had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against nine people for their alleged involvement in Thapa’s murder.
The case had not moved forward for a long period of time due to the pressure given by the Maoists that the case was under the jurisdiction of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as per the comprehensive peace agreement.

Following the continuous pressure from journalists, the case against five people proceeded on January 4, 2013, after the police arrested Nirak Bahadur Gharti, Harilal Pun, and Jaya Bahadur Shahi among others.
On December 7, 2014, former District Court Judge Dilli Ratna Shrestha had slammed two years of imprisonment against Gharti, Pun, and Shahi, one and a half years of imprisonment against Laksiram Gharti Magar, and six months of imprisonment against Bir Bahadur KC. They have already served their jail term.

Former Chairman of FNJ Bishnu Sharma said that the verdict was the victory of all journalists across the nation.
Journalist Thapa was the Dailekh Correspondent of Radio Nepal and is survived by wife, two daughters and a son.