SHIVA PRASAD UPRETI
GORKHA: A woman in the district is going through the painful ordeal of proving herself alive; she was ‘killed’, in papers, some 20 years ago, as available official documents say she is ‘dead’.
Sixty-six-year-old Rukmaya Gurung of Mucchok VDC, Dharapani, has been frequenting the District Administration Office for the last two months to right the wrong that her husband Dal Bahadur Gurung committed about two decades ago in cahoots with then VDC secretary Mukti Dawadi. The VDC secretary took bribe from Dal Bahadur and forged papers, declaring Rukmaya dead.
Realisation of her own death about 20 years ago dawned on Rukmaya only recently when she went to the Pokhara-based pension camp to get her husband’s retirement fund transferred in her name. “I am illiterate. I knew nothing. They said I died in the papers long time ago and that I do not have any children,” said Rukmaya, whose daughter is still alive after deaths of her three sons.
It is learnt that her husband not only got papers forged to declare her dead but also shifted all his pension and fixed and moveable property in the name of his second wife, Khagimaya. “My husband died about a year ago. I have heard that his second wife and her family are enjoying the pension,” said a dejected Rukmaya, who is running from pillar to post to receive the money she is entitled to. “When I go to Gorkha, authorities there tell me to go to Pokhara, and in Pokhara, officials ask me to go to Gorkha,” she said. “When and where will I get justice?”
The incumbent VDC secretary of her village has recommended that she be provided with the pension she is entitled to. But Gorkha Chief District Officer said, “We have the recommendation for providing her pension, but we also have papers that tell she is dead. But we have urged the concerned authorities to do the needful to ensure that the woman gets the pension.”
Besides pension, Rukmaya has also sought stern action against the then VDC secretary Dawadi for his callous act of declaring a living person dead.