24 Feb. 2020, Kathmandu. The 19th Workers’ Sacrificial Day was observed in a grand yet solemn manner on 23 Feb. 2020 in ANTUF premises at its central office, Parisdanda, Koteshwor, Kathmandu.
Every year ANTUF observes this day in memory of 17 construction workers from Dhading District working at Kotwada Airport in Dolpa District. They were killed in the helicopter bombings by the then Royal Nepal Army on 23 Feb. 2002 blaming them to be Maoist fighters but turned out to be armless victims.
The program was conducted on the chairmanship of ANTUF President Com. Jagat Simkhada along with Chief Guest Com. Lilamani Pokharel (NCP Bagmati Province Bureau In-Charge), Com. Kumar Paudel (NCP Central Committee Member), Com. Jaya Karki (ANTUF Vice-President), Com. Dhan Bahadur BK (ANTUF Vice-President), Com. Bishnu Kumari Thapa (ANTUF Deputy General Secretary), and Com. Lal Kumari Pun ‘Sushila’ (ANTUF Deputy General Secretary).
They presented certificates and shawls as tokens of appreciation and respect to ANTUF Vice-President Com. Usha Devkota (wife of disappeared ANTUF leader Com. Umesh Sedhai), and Ms Ranjana Paudel (wife of martyred ANTUF leader Com. Shambhu Paudel) and other wives of martyred and disappeared ANTUF leaders.
Guests, and other participants who were present in large numbers covering the premises and overflowing to stand on the back side pavement offered flowers and garlands to the images of martyrs and the disappeared.
All the seven ANTUF province committees country wide also observed the day conducting various programs in memory of the martyrs and the disappeared, and in respect of their families.
Addressing the program, Chief Guest Com. Lilamani Pokharel said that even though the governments have changed, the structures under the government have not changed which was not the reason for which the martyrs and the disappeared sacrificed their lives.
He added today’s change would not have been possible without the Peoples’ War, and we should use the changes brought about by people through constituent assembly in favour of the people. On a different context, he said party unification process should conclude as soon as possible and the working class should play a strong role in forming revolutionary culture.
Similarly, another guest Com. Kumar Paudel remarked that since workers and peasants were the fundamental power-base of a communist party, they should play the important role of preventing the party becoming bourgeois.
Closing, Chair of the program Com. Jagat Simkhada remembered the spirit of the Peoples’ War, and remarked that whether the party was moving on the wrong way. He committed to be not looked down in the eyes of martyrs’ families.
Speaking on behalf of martyrs’ and the disappeareds’ families, Ms Ranjana Paudel opined observance of Workers’ Sacrificial Day is not to be limited to one day observance but should also be extended to other days in terms of follow-ups and addressing other issues like health and education of the families.
ANTUF Deputy General Secretary Com. Shalikram Kafle conducted the program and another Deputy General Secretary Com. Prakash Shrestha delivered the welcome address.
In the program, Peoples’ Artiste Com. Laxmi Gurung and other Peoples’ artistes presented songs related to the Peoples’ War and martyrs amidst clapping and applause.