Family receives body of Ram Manohar Yadav five months after he died in police custodyRam Manohar died days after being detained ahead of a protest against Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav. His body had been lying inside the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital morgue since then.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
By the time Bishnu Yadav reached the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital on Sunday afternoon, he looked tired and listless. He had arrived in Kathmandu to receive the body of his brother, Ram Manohar Yadav, who died in police custody in Bardiya in September last year.
After migrating to work in Malaysia in 2013, the two brothers had hardly communicated. Every now and then, they would talk over the phone and discuss family affairs. At times, Bishnu would also warn Ram Manohar to stay away from his newly-grown obsession with the Free Madhes movement, fearing untoward consequences for becoming a part of a campaign that was under the surveillance of government authorities.
Bishnu’s biggest fear became reality five months ago. Ram Manohar died days after being detained ahead of a protest against Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav. His body had been lying inside the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital morgue since then.
“I had never thought I would come back only to receive his body,” said Bishnu, while waiting outside the hospital morgue.
Ram Manohar’s family members had been refusing to receive the body for months because they said they believe he had died due to torture inside the police cell.
While authorities maintained that Ram Manohar died while undergoing treatment at a local hospital, family members had been demanding an investigation into his death, arguing that there was no way Ram Manohar could die all of a sudden.
Last week, the family members decided to receive his body.
In an interview with the Post last month, Bishnu had said the family had been getting phone calls from the police asking them to collect the body in Kathmandu. When they refused, they said they began to receive threatening calls day after day.
The Yadav family has also accused the police of conducting an autopsy without their consent. The day after the family left Kathmandu in September, police had conducted the post-mortem. The family said they never received a copy of the post-mortem report, neither has it been made public.
Bishu said even though the family has collected the body from the morgue, their fight to unearth what happened to Ram Manohar will continue.
“No inquiry has taken place in the last five months. We are still waiting for answers. For now, we have decided to perform his final rites,” Bishnu told the Post about the family’s decision as he waited for the hearse to ferry his brother’s body to his village in Banke.
The District Administration Office, Bardiya had borne the expenses of his treatment and vehicle charge that was close to Rs200,000. But the family has refused to accept the Rs1 million offered by the Home Ministry as compensation.
“We have not backtracked on our demand for a fair investigation. We will knock the doors of international human rights agencies if the government fails to address our concerns. Our fight will go on,” said Bishnu.
As Bishnu was all set to leave with his brother’s body, his cell phone rang. His mother was on the other side.
“Everything is done. We are coming home,” replied Bishnu, stressing on we as he broke into tears.
“No one can imagine the pain of a family which is waiting to see the body of one of their family members,” Bishnu said.