Nepal court delays `Himalayan Viagra` verdict

A court in Nepal postponed its verdict on 36 men charged with murdering a group of farmers in a battle over a prized plant dubbed the "Himalayan Viagra" due to its aphrodisiac qualities.

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 23:52 PM IST

Kathmandu: A court in Nepal on Sunday
postponed its verdict on 36 men charged with murdering a group
of farmers in a battle over a prized plant dubbed the
"Himalayan Viagra" due to its aphrodisiac qualities.

The seven farmers were killed in the remote
northern district of Manang in June 2009 after going to forage
for Yarchagumba, a rare parasitic plant that is a major source
of income for many Himalayan communities.

The court, which is two days` walk from the nearest
road, has had to delay the verdict several times due to absent
judges and lawyers. An official said today it now plans to
announce the verdict on March 30.

"I am in Kathmandu on a personal visit. So we have
decided to postpone," district judge Achyut Bhandari, who is
overseeing the case, said.

The 36 accused all deny murder and say the men died
accidentally when a fight broke out over the right to harvest
Yarchagumba, which is in particular demand in China, where a
kilogramme can fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

Battles over Yarchagumba have erupted in the past,
but have been resolved within communities that have
traditionally operated outside the national judicial system
because of their remoteness and cultural traditions.

Police initially arrested the entire village of Nar
but later released the women and children.

The judge is from a neighbouring district and was
not present in court for any of the earlier hearings,
prompting concern about the fairness of the trial from rights
groups.

PTI