DNA test indicates mass grave in Kathmandu

December 17th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Dec 17 (IANS) DNA tests on human belongings found buried in a jungle near Kathmandu have reinforced the possibility of a mass grave that could hold the remains of 49 people who disappeared during Maoist insurgency, Nepal’s top rights body said Wednesday.Gauri Pradhan, spokesman at the National Human Rights Commission that last year began investigating the articles found at the Shivapuri jungle, said DNA tests by Finnish experts at Finnish laboratories had proved they belonged to a human male.

The commission is urging the Maoist-led government for a further investigation at the forest that is believed to hold the remains of 49 people held unlawfully by the notorious Bhairavnath Battalion of the then Royal Nepal Army (RNA) and then executed and cremated in 2003.

An organisation of people whose kin have been missing in the course of Nepal’s 10-year Maoist insurgency led rights activists to the forest in December 2007 after an RNA soldier reportedly confessed that the 49 detainees, including Maoists and villagers only suspected of having aided the rebels, were taken to the forest, executed and cremated to destroy evidence.

The search in the forest last year unearthed partially buried clothing, half-burnt logs, and other objects. As Nepal does not have facilities for conclusive tests, the objects were sent to Finland for exhaustive examinations.

The announcement Wednesday that they were human remains do not come as a surprise as the Finnish experts, two of whom are in Kathmandu now, had already indicated that to the NHRC.

Hundreds of people went missing during the Maoists’ People’s War and scores were executed, mostly by the army and some also by the Maoists.

However, even two years after the end of the war and the signing of a peace pact, a series of Nepal governments have failed to bring the perpetrators to justice or disclose the fate of the people still missing.

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