Mr. Gita Rasaili

Nepal

\nA story of a Woman Conflict Victim, Gita Rasaili
\nConflict Victims’ Common Platform
\nTransitional Justice Resource Centre
\nLagankhel, Patan
\nTransitional Justice Project/UNDP
\n(source: sheisthestory.com)
\nShe was born in the house of a Dalit farmer in Pokhari-Chaur, Kavre.  It is one of the most remote villages in Kavre. She has a huge family with eight siblings. She has three elder brothers, two younger brothers and two elder sisters. She is the youngest girl child of her family.  Even though she had a very simple life, her parents never let her feel deprived of anything.
\nDuring her childhood she was very naughty. She always tried to skip her work. Whenever she had to collect fodder and do household chores She would try to escape it. Maybe because she was the youngest one, so, her elder brothers and sisters spoilt her and just did most of the work.  She remembers taking the smallest pot to fetch water and used to take the fodder that her friend collected instead of going to the forest herself. She was a playful kid and an average student.
\nShe always dressed up like a boy and played like one. Whenever she went to collect fodder she used to climb trees, cut the branches and leaves. She felt like she could do everything her brothers could do. 
\nDuring those days’, people were unaware about education. There were only two people who had finished their high school in her community. Even though her family were farmers and impoverished, her parents believed everyone had a right to a bright future. Her father was an active social worker. Whenever there were disputes in her village, her father used to be the first one to settle it and She strongly believe that she might have inherited that same character of her father’s.
\nThe armed conflict started in 1996 when she was still a child. The in-charge of the eastern part of Nepal was from her village. One of her elder brother was actively involved in social clubs and community work when in high school, later they found out that he had joined the Maoists which her parents had totally not expected. That was around 2001.  Everyone knew that lives were not secure if they had joined the Maoists. A lot of times families didn’t know whether their children were dead or alive, her parents went in desperate search of her brother and wept for more than seventeen days. In 2002, her family got the news that said he was transferred and killed in a combat. That same year, after about six months, one of her other elder brother also joined the Maoists.
\nEventually, she too joined the Maoists when she was fourteen years old. She joined them because besides the fact that she was born in a Dalit family and wanted to end the brutal caste system, the Maoists were also looked upon as some superstars of Bollywood in their village. Even the women wore men’s clothes and walked around with a gun in their hands. She wanted to live like them.  Another reason she joined them was also because she had no friends left in school. They all had joined the Maoists.
\nThe day when she ran away from her home was a school holiday. One of her friend, who was a Maoist came to her house to have lunch. They planned her escape. According to the plan, she would ask her younger brother to take the animals for grazing and escape when her mother was busy with her work. She didn’t carry anything with her except a pair of her inner clothes. One of her friend saw her run with the Maoists and told her mother. An hour later, her mother came searching for her. She hid herself in one of the village houses.  During the first night she missed her family and cried. Now that she thinks of it, she wouldn’t have become a Maoist if they had returned her home.
\nShe was fourteen and she had no idea what she was after. The moment of excitement to be renowned and make a change made her join the people’s war. Even though she has no regrets in what she did, she would want other teenagers to study at that age, if someone did ask her as of today. Time passed as she moved from one village to another. She gained experience and learned about life after she joined the party. 
\nFebruary 13th is celebrated as People’s War Day.  One of those days, she was placed in her home village and in the morning had gone for celebrations.  At around midnight, one of her friends came running towards them yelling ‘army’ ‘army’, so they ran away and hid somewhere across the river from her village.  Finally, at 4 am they saw her again and she told them that the Nepal Army had been after them, she managed to escape somehow and came to warn the others.
\nThe next day, as she was listening to the afternoon news when she heard that two Maoist women were killed during a fire exchange. Their name was Reena Rasaili and Shubhadra Chaulagain. When she heard her sister’s name. She was horrified.
\nHer sister was not at all into politics, she would rather study. She had even tried to stop her from joining the Maoists and had encouraged her to study. This news left me paralyzed and numb. She didn’t know what to feel. She was completely out of control for the next few days.
\nHer mother was in a critical condition. Whenever she saw a young teenage girl she fainted. She couldn’t go home, her friends told her to stay away because her mother would surely faint if she saw her. In few days, she met her father. She cried when she saw him and he tried to calm her down. He assured her if she came back home he would find a way to protect her.
\n\nMy innocent sister was killed for no reason.
\nWhen her sister was killed her family got destroyed. They were still mourning for her. She blamed herself for her death. She felt like if she didn’t exist, then perhaps things would have been different. She still feel the same.
\nHer sister was a noble person and she had not committed any crime, her parents filed a complaint in the district police headquarters but it was not registered.
\nAfter 2007, she could not remain quiet about what happened. She joined her father in his quest for justice for her sister and they together filed many cases.
\nWe are still fighting for justice.
\n 
\nLooking at today’s situation of Nepal, she fears that the upcoming generation will face a similar situation of war, fight and sacrifices until their issues are solved and the goals are achieved. What her brother and sister went through might also be faced by people in upcoming generation.
\nTheir brutal past is not talked in their society and the issues that came along have not been addressed. The inequality they faced on a day to day level is what gave birth to war. They cannot stay silent anymore. People might once again die brutally.
\nWhat she felt is that we need to speak up for tomorrow.
\nMany incidents took place. But what happened to them is worth noting. Her mother complains about the injustice every day. Likewise, there are many other people who lost their brothers, sisters, daughters and sons like her and her family.
\nThe politicians who promised them rights are no longer around.
\nEvery one of us has the right to know the truth. What was lost, how it is going to be recovered? How can the void be fulfilled? Since 2007, She has been working for people who were victimized during the people’s war. She wants to fight to help them get justice for what they have lost.
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