Windstorm victims protest after their names went missing from the beneficiary listProtesters claim people’s representatives removed their names for political reasons as they supported a different political party.
The windstorm victims of Khutawajabdi settlement in Bara district staged a demonstration on Saturday, demanding that they be included on the beneficiary list.
Around 50 villagers of Prasauni Rural Municipality-4 took to the streets after they learnt that their names were not included in the list.
Hundreds of houses were destroyed in Bara and Parsa districts by the devastating windstorm on March 31. The federal government has decided to mobilise the Nepal Army to rebuild houses of the victims.
The protesting women were waiving brooms, while the youth and children were holding placards and banners. The demonstrators burnt effigies of the chief of the rural municipality and ward chair claiming that they removed their names from the beneficiary list.
“Our houses were destroyed in the windstorm. The people’s representatives now removed our names from the beneficiary list because we supported a different political party,” said Aamana Khatun, one of the protesting victims who lost her house in the disaster.
The beneficiary list prepared by the District Administration Office just included 91 villagers. The agitating locals claimed that around 60 other households are also the genuine victims but their names have been left out for political reasons. “The elected representatives removed the names of the victims,” said Yakub Ansari, demanding that those involved in changing the name list should be punished.
The enraged locals have also padlocked ward office for the past three days, demanding that their names be included in the list.
Ananda Gupta, the ward chief of Prasauni-4, admitted that some genuine victims were missing from the beneficiary list.
“The local administration might have removed the names of some genuine victims without consulting us. We have no knowledge about it,” said Gupta, alleging that the opposition parties enticed the victims to stage a demonstration.
The rural municipality chief, Bhola Sah, however, refused his involvement in removing the victims’ names from the list.
The local unit said it had forwarded the name list comprising 157 victims from Ward 4 alone. But there were later whittled down to 91.