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Nepalis mourn relatives and broken dreams in wake of devastating Hamas massacre

On a small farm in Nepal, a weeping father mourns the lost dreams of his 25-year-old son, among the 10 Nepali agriculture students massacred in Hamas’s devastating onslaught in Israel.

It was only last month that Ashish Chaudhary’s family had been celebrating his hopes of building a better life after he joined Israel’s 11-month “Learn and Earn” work-study program.

  • “I thought… it would be good for him and his bright future,” his father Bejhulal Dangaura told AFP with tears in his eyes.
  • “If I had known about this danger, I would have stopped him.”

Chaudhary was among the 10 Nepali students killed when the Hamas terror group launched its October 7 massacre, which saw at least 1,500 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air, and sea, killing over 1,300 people and taking at least 199 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — men, women, children, and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor music festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

At Israel’s Kibbutz Alumim, close to the Gaza border, Chaudhary was among the 10 Nepali farming students killed by Hamas’s grenade explosions and intense gunfire.

  • Four other Nepalis were injured, and one student is missing.

Distraught relatives in Nepal — a majority-Hindu Himalayan nation over 4,500 kilometers (2,795 miles) from the bloodshed — are reeling from the loss.

Chaudhary had planned to return home next year.

His dream was to use his savings and the skills learned from Israel’s high-tech agriculture to launch a farming business in Nepal’s western Kailali district.

  • More than 3,000 Nepalis have joined the Israeli program since its 2013 launch, being paid more in a year than they would earn at home in a decade on average.
  • Remittances are crucial for Nepal’s economy, equaling nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP last year, the ninth-highest rate globally, according to the World Bank.

‘River of blood’

Before the attack, around 4,500 Nepalis were estimated to be working in Israel, many as caregivers.

Distraught relatives in Nepal — a majority-Hindu Himalayan nation over 4,500 kilometers (2,795 miles) from the bloodshed — are reeling from the loss.

Chaudhary had planned to return home next year.

  • His dream was to use his savings and the skills learned from Israel’s high-tech agriculture to launch a farming business in Nepal’s western Kailali district.

More than 3,000 Nepalis have joined the Israeli program since its 2013 launch, being paid more in a year than they would earn at home in a decade on average.

  • Remittances are crucial for Nepal’s economy, equaling nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP last year, the ninth-highest rate globally, according to the World Bank.
  • About 200 students were on the “Learn and Earn” program, which allows them to learn new skills while working on farms in Israel.

Parents who poured their life savings into educating their child — hoping they could then bring the whole family out of poverty — have had their dreams crushed.

  • “I did not let anything lack from his life since his childhood. All love their children and want to give them a good education. We brought him to this point,” his father Dangaura said.

Dangaura had taken out loans to send his son to college, using his home and small shop as collateral.

Students like Chaudhary expect to earn up to $15,000 for their work in Israel, a lucrative opportunity with Nepal’s annual average income of just $1,400.

His death came just as “he wanted to earn and take care of us,” Dangaura said.

  • “He was happy. He had many dreams… He used to tell me: ‘Don’t worry, I will take care of everything,’” his sister Amrita Devi Dangaura said, as she burst into tears while consoling her parents.
  • “We are left with neither any business nor farmland nor our family’s son.”

Durga Neupane, aunt of another student, Narayan Prasad Neupane, who was killed, said she would struggle to comprehend his death until she saw his dead body.

  • “It feels like it’s not real,” she said.
  • “He used to say that he would return home and build a concrete house. Now, even his body is not here.”

Nepal last week sent a rescue flight for 254 citizens, with 200 others waiting to return.

Dhan Bahadur Chaudhary, 26, injured by a grenade blast, was among those who returned. He saw his friends shot dead and others bleed to death.

  • “I can’t sleep well at night,” he told reporters as he arrived at the airport in the capital Kathmandu.
  • “I dream of my friends. I only see blood, I see a river of blood.”

Source: TOI

Header: Manju Devi Danguara (2nd left), the mother of Ashish Chaudhary, is consoled by family members at her residence in the Kailali district of Sudurpashchim province as she mourns the loss of her son, who was killed in Hamas’s devastating onslaught in Israel, October 13, 2023. (Prakash MATHEMA/AFP)