"They would shove my head into filthy water that filled a big cauldron sunk into the ground. They would shove my head underwater maybe twenty or twenty-five times, asking me questions. Sometimes I would become unconscious. Sometimes they would punch me in the stomach when I was underwater or give me electric shocks when they pulled my up. I would feel the shock in my whole body and lose consciousness. One time I asked to urinate. They did not take me to the toilet. They took me to another spot and told me to piss. Below, I could see a electric heater coil. When I urinated,I felt the shock enter my body. I woke up much later, lying in the Hall. There was saline in my arm. My genitals were swollen and painful. Later a doctor told me that I could not ever have an erection again. The damage is permanent."
This is just a part of the whole story.
These cases of torture are common all over the barracks as revealed by the recently published OHCHR report. I did not believe Nepal Army (previously known as RNA) could go into such a low standard. But, the truth is truth. They tortured and tormented thousands of people. Many have been disappeared, several others left injured, some suffer from permanent injuries like the one mentioned above. Things have gone wrong for a long time.
Not only were the army personnel involved in their abuse. Even medical personnels who used to visit them for treatment repeatedly asked these people to confess and disclose information about maoists and hence indirectly coercing them to open up informations about maoists.According to several testimonies, members of the medical profession were involved in the torture, ill-treatment and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, in that they resuscitated those who fell unconscious and treated the wounds without apparently questioning the authorities concerned regarding the treatment meted out. Their care appeared to sustain and facilitate ongoing torture and other ill-treatment.
The report says, however, that none of the victims questioned admitted as being directly abused by the medical staff. Torture was just a part of the whole grim scenario. Movements were restricted and whenever someone was to be transferred, he used to be blindfolded. Most of those detained were permanently handcuffed and or blindfolded. What a prison camp. These detained people were kept under the permanent "watch" by acts of torture on a daily basis. The report further writes:
"… most of the people kept there [during one period] were beaten three times a day with a pipe. I was beaten twice, in the morning and in the evening, about ten blows. Others received two dozen, right there [in the place of detention], one after the other. Half of them were made to stand on their heads. I did this for two or three days then could not. Sometimes, while standing on the head, a soldier would come without a single word and kick him with his boot. The person would fall down".
These things drive me crazy. What on earth was going on in the country? How were we blindfolded all these years? Did we even have democracy? I am sure these acts of torture happened even during the democratic period when our honorable PM Girija, Deuba and so forth were in the chair. What do you people think?
This is the most disturbing news I have ever read about our country. What should be done to these personnels who abused the system and tortured people? OHCHR recommends the following:
– Establish a credible, competent, impartial and fully independent investigation into the arrest, detention, torture, and ultimate fate or whereabouts of the people who were held by the 10th Brigade and who are reported as disappeared. – Such an investigation might be part of a wider investigation to ascertain the fate or whereabouts of all those who disappeared and the responsibility of other units of the RNA for such violations of human rights.
– Those potentially implicated directly or through command responsibility for units involved should be suspended from any official duties pending the investigation, and should not be proposed for participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
– The investigation should also examine the role played by members of the medical profession in engaging, actively or passively, in acts which constitute participation or complicity in ill-treatment and torture.
– All necessary measures should be taken to ensure that witnesses and former detainees will not be subjected to threats or intimidation. The unlawful practice of requiring former detainees to report to the Nepalese Army on a regular basis should be ended immediately.
– The findings of the investigation should be made public and widely disseminated.
– Persons against whom there is evidence of criminal responsibility should be brought to justice before a civilian court.
What do you people think?
- To read more, download the pdf file.(based on OHCHR report, http://nepal.ohchr.org)