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Conflict displaced yet to be rehabilitated

By Our Reporter
Many families displaced in the decade long Maoist conflict are still unable to return to their villages, even though the government has claimed that peace process has concluded.
A pathetic tale of a couple, which the official English daily, The Rising Nepal, published this week, showed that still many families are waiting for reunion and rehabilitation.
According to the news story, an elderly couple displaced from Rolpa is still living a miserable life in Bajhang. They have no money to travel to Rolpa from Bajhang.
Dalbir Damai and Bima Damai fled their home in Jelwang, Rolpa in 1994 after the personnel from Nepal Army beat and tortured the couple, alleging them of sewing clothes for the Maoists.
Fearing for their lives, the Damai family fled to Nepalgunj where they lived for two years. They then migrated to Surkhet where they lived for one year. From there, they moved to Chainpur, Bajhang, in 1997 where they are currently living as daily wage labourers.
Dalbir Damai, now 86, was found manually crushing rocks in the scorching May sun, on the banks of the Bahuligaad River. “I would give anything to die in my own village, but I don’t have enough money to return,” he said.
It has been 25 years since the Damais were displaced. In that time, the conflict ended, the monarchy fell, Nepal became a federal democratic republic and yet, the couple’s plight has only increased. Bima Damai, 56, still does not have a citizenship. They are not recognised as conflict victims nor has any official come to visit them.

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