Senior figures in Nepal’s Paralympic movement have denied “detestable” claims about the death of a disabled member of their delegation to London 2012.
Surendra Bahadur Basnyat, president of the National Paralympic Committee Nepal (NPC Nepal), and Pashupati Parajuli, its general secretary, spoke out in the wake of the death of Man Bahadur Lopchan.
Lopchan’s body was found hanging in the Paralympic Village in Stratford in the early hours of 11 September, less than 36 hours after the London 2012 closing ceremony.
He was taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital, but fell into a coma and is believed to have died a week later.
The mystery surrounding his death deepened after reports of the possible disappearance of two members of the Nepali delegation.
Activists in Nepal have called for a full investigation into Lopchan’s death, while his son, Santa, has made a series of allegations in official statements lodged with the police in Nepal.
He says in the statements that his father – who played a major part in establishing the Paralympic movement in Nepal – had raised concerns about the selection of the Nepali delegation and had phoned a relative during the Paralympics and expressed fears for his safety.
He also claims that the delegation returned to Nepal and left his father lying in a coma in London.
But Basnyat and Parajuli this week insisted that it was “absolutely not true” that Lopchan had feared for his safety.
In a statement emailed to Disability News Service, they said the claim sounded like “a ridiculous attempt by some anti-Paralympics group in Nepal… to take advantage of this unfortunate situation”.
They added: “It’s very important for us all to understand that this fact is being investigated in London, and… despite whatever futile, detestable and degradable claims are being made, the reality will come to light soon.”
They said the claims around Lopchan’s death were “vapid, unrealistic and detestable” and that those making the allegations should wait for the authorities in London to produce their official reports.
They also insisted that none of Nepal’s London 2012 delegation were missing, while they themselves were not qualified to say whether there should be a police investigation in London.
A Metropolitan police spokeswoman said officers were reviewing the statements made by Lopchan’s son, but stressed that the case was currently being dealt with by the coroner’s office. An inquest into Lopchan’s death is expected later this year.
An International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesman said the IPC had written to NPC Nepal, “asking them some questions and [for] their side of the story”.
He added: “The NPC has since acknowledged receipt of this letter and confirmed it will reply shortly.”
8 November 2012