Bhisma Raj Ojha
KATHMANDU, Jan 29: The country is observing the martyrs’ day in commemoration of all known and unknown martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the welfare of the nation and people tomorrow.
Nepal has been marking the martyr’s day on the 16th of the month of Magh in the Nepali calendar every year since the past six decades, official data about martyrs is still missing, though. Moreover, various programs are being organized for a week in the country in the honor of all known and unknown martyrs. The martyrs’ week commences from the Martyr’s Day.
Shukraraj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Gangalal Shrestha and Dashrath Chand, who were executed by the then tyrannical Rana regime in the month of Magh in 1997 BS for struggling for democracy, are revered as the ‘four great martyrs’ in the country. Lakhan Thapa is respected as the ‘first martyr’ of Nepal.
According to the Home Ministry, the government has provided financial assistance of Rs 100 thousands each to the families of 19 people who attained martyrdom during the 1990’s people’s movement launched for restoration of democracy.
Likewise, the status of martyr was given to 26 people who had lost their lives during the second people’s movement in 2006.
The government had announced the people losing their lives in various movements and incidents after the 2006 movement, but the exact number of martyrs is missing at the official-level.
Recently on January 17, the government declared 190 people as martyrs, as stated by Home Ministry’s joint spokesperson Umesh Dahakal. Though, the Ministry has started keeping the records about martyrs, it is presently not in the position of providing the exact number right now.
Under-Secretary at the Relief and Statistics Section under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Mira Acharya, said that the government had on June 23, 2010 at recommendation of the Ministry declared 1,619 people as martyrs.
Similarly, the government had on December 24, 2008 declared 6,344 people as martyrs, there is no official data in this regard.
The government has no accurate data regarding the number of martyrs as many people killed in the Tarai-Madhes agitation time and again as well as various movement took place in the country were declared as martyrs.
Families of the martyrs complained that the trend of exerting pressure for declaring any person killed in any incident as martyr and asking one million rupees as financial aid in the country has hurt the sentiments of the real martyrs.
Prabha Khadka, wife of martyr Pradyumna Khadka, said that they have felt that the trend of declaring any persons as martyr without meeting any criteria has dishonest the sentiment of real martyr.
The government had formed two commissions after the people’s movement 2062/63 to prepare criteria to declare martyr, the reports have not been implemented yet.