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Basudev THAPA






The Nagarkot massacre
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: RNA sergeant - Argument between Thapa and some of the villagers
Number of victims: 11
Date of murder: December 14, 2005
Date of birth: 1979
Victim profile: Ram Lal Nagarkoti, 40 / Nani Nagarkoti, 19 / Chola Kanta Panta / Sujan Shreshta / Aaite Tamang / Bhagwan Tamang / Dipak Tamang, 5 / Dhamai Singh Tamang, 11 / Kale Tamang / Maya Tamang / Niru Tamang
Method of murder: Shooting (assault rifle)
Location: Chihandanda, Nepal
Status: Killed during a shoot-out with his fellow soldiers the same day

The Nagarkot massacre was an act of mass murder that occurred on December 14, 2005 at the Kali Devi temple in Chihandanda near Nagarkot, Nepal. Off-duty RNA sergeant Basudev Thapa (वासुदेव थापा), 26, indiscriminately shot at villagers, celebrating at the temple, with an assault rifle, killing 11 and injuring 19 more, before he himself was shot by his fellow soldiers. The shooting was said to be sparked by an argument between Thapa and some of the villagers.


While nearly 250 villagers were celebrating Mangsir Purnima at the Kali Devi temple in Chihandanda an argument broke out between Sergeant Basudev Thapa, stationed at the Nagarkot barrack, and youths from the nearby Pipalbot village with whom he had a long-standing enmity. When the youths began to beat him up, the allegedly drunk soldier attacked one of them with a knife. Yelling "I'll come back and kill you all" Thapa, bruised from the fight, drove off in his motorcycle and returned to the barracks, where he armed himself with an L1A1 SLR. Although he was off-duty at that time, Thapa was allowed to leave the barracks with the gun without fulfilling any formality.

After about half an hour, at 11.30 p.m., Thapa and three of his colleagues returned to the temple grounds. He fired a few shots in the air, before shooting indiscriminately at the people who were trying to seek refuge within the temple from the gunman.

Though many initial news reports named 12 civilians killed, the official report states that only 11 people were shot to death and 19 others wounded by the more than 200 shots fired, before Thapa himself was killed. According to RNA statements, Thapa committed suicide, though many witnesses said that he was killed by one of his colleagues, while he was still firing at the villagers. An investigation of Thapa's body found that he died of a chest wound that could not possibly have been self-inflicted, thus contradicting the official version.


  • Ram Lal Nagarkoti, 40
  • Nani Nagarkoti, 19, daughter of Ram Lal Nagarkoti
  • Chola Kanta Panta
  • Sujan Shreshta
  • Aaite Tamang
  • Bhagwan Tamang
  • Dipak Tamang, 5
  • Dhamai Singh Tamang, 11
  • Kale Tamang
  • Maya Tamang
  • Niru Tamang


The next day the RNA commenced to clean the crime scene, deliberately destroying evidence, presumably in an attempt to cover up the incident. When a second rifle was found in a pool about 60 metres away from Thapa's body, questions arose if there might have been a second gunman.

In consequence human rights activists and opposition parties, as well as the people from Nagarkot demonstrated, demanding an impartial investigation and denouncing frequent human rights violations by and severe corruptness and indiscipline within the RNA. As a response the government formed a three-member judicial commission to investigate the incident and proposed to pay compensations of 150,000 Nepalese rupees to each of the victims families and to bear the expenses for treating the injured. Further the RNA also established a probe committee to scrutinise the massacre.

The official report was released on January 3, 2006 and stated, that "Thapa committed suicide by shooting himself and no evidence was found of the involvement of any other person except Thapa in the incident". Further it was noted that Thapa had a history of indiscipline and obstructing work and that the leading officer of the Nagarkot barracks had failed to maintain discipline among his personnel. The report also recommended to compensate the victims and their families and to take care of their education and livelihood.

Victims of the massacre protested several times in Kathmandu, because of the passivity of the government in providing the compensations recommended by the probe committee.


'Angered' Nepalese soldier kills 11 civilians

December 15, 2005

A Nepalese soldier ended an argument with a group of villagers by spraying them with bullets, killing at least 11 people and sparking protests, officials and eyewitness said today.

The Himalayan country's military has been repeatedly accused of violating human rights in its fight against Maoist rebels, and the killings late yesterday had by early today drawn some 200 protesters to the hospital where the 19 injured were taken.

Hours later, around 15,000 protesters led by an alliance of seven political parties marched through Kathmandu demanding the country's king restore democracy and condemning the killings.

"We want democracy," the protesters shouted, carrying banners and red and white party flags. The rally had been planned previously, but quickly turned into a protest against the killings.

Since King Gyanendra seized absolute power earlier this year, saying he needed total control to defeat Maoist rebels, the army has faced stepped-up criticism from human rights groups for using excessive force and killing civilians.

Several officials and soldiers have been punished by the army for committing abuses and murder.

But many say officials have not done enough.

"Our alliance condemns the killing and the attempt to cover up the massacre at Nagarkot," the village where the shooting took place, said Bharat Yadav, a member of the Nepal Sadbhavna Party.

"This autocratic regime is responsible for the massacre," Narayan Man Bijuchche of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party.

The parties have called for a general strike in Kathmandu tomorrow to protest at the killing.

The Royal Nepalese Army confirmed the shooting and identified the soldier as Basudev Thapa, who it said was killed in the incident without elaborating.

The army also said an investigation had been launched and a report would be prepared within the next three days.

Details of the shooting were scant, but villagers said the soldier may have been drunk and had gotten into an argument with some villagers near Nagarkot, about 15 miles northeast of Kathmandu.

"He returned at night with a gun and started firing," said Santa Bahadur Tamang, who lost his 30-year-old nephew in the shooting.

Tamang, who was protesting outside the hospital, said villagers first heard a single shot followed by continuous firing.

Initial reports from the military said soldiers could have opened fire after mistaking the villagers for communist rebels.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting since 1996 to topple Nepal's monarchy and establish a communist state. About 12,000 people have died in the insurgency.



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