A Madhesi died in police custody. No one knows what really happened

Ten days after his arrest, the family was told that Ram Manohar had died in police custody. Police officers in Bardiya said that Ram Manohar had collapsed in prison and had been rushed to Kathmandu for treatment, but he died on the way.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
Published at : February 1, 2019
Updated at : July 11, 2020 10:09

On September 22, the family received a call from the police asking them to collect the body from the Teaching Hospital morgue, where it has been lying unclaimed for the past five months. When they refused, they said they began to receive threatening phone calls day after day.

“They asked us in a threatening tone to collect the dead body and the compensation amount,” says Bishnu. “Or else, they won’t be responsible for anything that might happen to us, they said.”

Ram Manohar’s death has permeated down to the village, where CK Raut was once a popular figure. Now, villagers warn their families to refrain from any activity linked to Raut, as they might suffer the same fate, said Suresh Yadav, ward-6 chairperson of Janaki Rural Municipality.

“Irrespective of their political affiliations, they mourn Ram Manohar’s death,” said Suresh. “His untimely death has left people in shock. There are some dedicated believers in the CK Raut movement who might be unaffected, but many families have started warning young people to stay away from Raut.”  

Ram Manohar left behind three children. The youngest, three-year-old Nischal, has yet to register the death of his father, who would bring home chocolates or cookies every evening. Sunita said Nischal still believes his father remains in jail, a white lie that she has been telling him for months.

“Mother, when will the police free my father?” he regularly asks her, she said. “He has been gone for so long now.”  


Read other Saturday features from the Post:

As Kathmandu’s air gets worse, its residents struggle to breathe

The rise and rise of Sandeep Lamichhane

How rice became a staple—and why that’s unsustainable

A remote district struggles to adapt to climate change

Kathmandu’s roads are widening but there’s no space for pedestrians


Chandan Kumar Mandal

Chandan Kumar Mandal was the environment and migration reporter for The Kathmandu Post, covering labour migration and governance, as well as climate change, natural disasters, and wildlife.