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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Death of a Nepalese protester

By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Kathmandu

The last time Basu Ghimere's wife Sunita saw him alive was on Thursday morning.

Cremation
A small crowd gathered to watch the cremation

Mr Ghimere, 32, was heading out to attend the protests against King Gyanendra in the neighbourhood of Kalanki, where he lived.

Hours later, his lifeless body lay in a police hospital.

He is said to have been beaten and shot dead by the security forces.

It was only on Friday morning that the family found out what had happened.

"I received a call from the police asking me to go the hospital," said his brother-in-law, Bishnu Raj Chawlagal.

It was there that he identified the body.

"He had been shot in the chest," he said simply. "I felt dizzy just looking at him."

Hasty cremation

Mr Ghimere's body was then hastily transported to the Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu's holiest Hindu temple, for cremation.

As a few hundred people looked on, it was laid on the temple ghats - a row of steps by the river and a traditional cremation site.

Sunita
He had been on protests a couple of times previously. He had even got slightly injured once... But he always returned home
Sunita
Basu Ghimere's wife

Covered in a simple white shroud, the only evidence of his brutal death was a blood-stained shirt used to cover his face.

Riot police in full battle-gear took up positions as officials visited his home.

His wife says the police told her about her husband's death and asked her to sign some "blank papers".

They then asked her to accompany them to the temple for the cremation but she refused.

"His parents live five hours away and would have wanted to be there."

"I pleaded with the police to bring his body home so that the family could get a glimpse of him."

But the police refused.

As news emerged of fresh protests breaking out in Kathmandu, they moved swiftly.

At the cremation site, a couple of priests were hustled through to perform the last rites and cremate the body.

'Inhuman'

Mr Ghimere is said to have been a member of the youth wing of the Nepali Congress party, some of whom were present.

Many of them were angry at the hasty cremation.

"It is inhuman. How can they do this?" said Gurmila Acharya, gesticulating angrily at the police.

"How can someone be cremated without his family being present?"

Others say the least the authorities could have done is allow Mr Ghimere to be cremated with dignity.

"In our Hindu tradition the last rites are always conducted by the family," said Kishamal Joshi.

"To refuse someone that is barbaric."

'No terrorist'

In a small room in Basu Ghimere's simple, single-storey home built on a hill in Kalanki, his wife Sunita, 21, stares blankly as friends and family gather around.

Family photo
Mr Ghimere leaves behind his young wife and a four-year-old son

No-one there had any idea that the cremation had gone ahead even as his parents were on their way to Kathmandu.

"I heard on the radio that the police had described him as a terrorist," she said softly cradling their four-year-old son.

"He was no terrorist. He was a carpenter," she said her voice breaking.

The Ghimeres had been married seven years and the family reject any suggestion that he was active politically.

"He was a simple man," his wife said.

"He had been on protests a couple of times previously. He had even got slightly injured once.

"But he always returned home."




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