Sunday, June 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rebel grew up in Chandigarh
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai, the underground Maoist leader of Nepal and whose opinion piece about the June 1 killings of King Birendra and his entire family led to the arrest of the Kantipur daily Editor Yubraj Ghimire, Managing Director Kailash Sirohiya and Director Binod Raj Gyawali, on the charges of sedition, has strong Chandigarh connections.

After doing his intermediate from Amrit Science College, an affiliate of Tribhuvan University, in 1972, he joined the Chandigarh College of Architecture here and graduated in first division.

“He had been an outstanding student,” says Lieut-Col I.J.S. Bakshi (retd), Principal of the college. Some of his batch mates, including Ms Balwinder Saini, Senior Architect, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Kuljit Singh, an architect and planning consultant, and Ms Sumit, Senior Architect in the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Punjab, speak well for him.

Besides, he was a friendly, intelligent and dedicated team worker who took a keen interest in all his classroom presentations and assignments. Even at that time he was well organised. Though short statured and lightly built, he also evinced a keen interest in sports and other extracurricular activities in the college.

According to college records, Babu Ram Bhattarai had secured 71 per cent marks in Intermediate. He had distinction in both physics and mathematics. Born on June 18, 1954, Babu Ram is just 5’4” and weighed only 43 kg when he joined the college here. He was a boarder and was allotted a room in Corbu House.

“In 1997, when I went to Nepal, I took some of the addresses of the alumni of my college. His address was also in my list. When I made inquiries about him, I was told that I cannot see him as he and his wife are underground,” recalls Professor Bakshi.

After doing his B. Architecture from here, which he completed in first division in May, 1977, Babu Ram went to New Delhi and later did his doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University there. It was in New Delhi that he met his life partner who was also doing her doctorate.

The office records of the College of Architecture still holds on file details marks of last two semesters of Babu Ram. Interestingly, Babu Ram had done his thesis, as a part of his B.Arch degree, on the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi.

After finishing their doctorates, the couple returned to Nepal. There Bhattarais spearheaded the Maoist movement before their party was “outlawed”.

And for the past several years, he has been writing opinion pieces in various newspapers on the current political developments and corruption in high places . After the June 1 tragedy, it had reiterated its claim that the “horrendous massacre at the royal palace was a conspiracy and blamed both India and Koirala as a part of the conspiracy.”

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