Family coerced into cremating Nirmala

  • Girl’s father Yagya Raj says he was threatened with criminal charge if protest became violent
  • CDO Khadka says family agreed to receive the 13-year-old’s body after authorities vowed to prosecute the guilty
- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Jul 31, 2018-District Administration Office, Kanchanpur, is accused of coercing the family of 13-year-old rape and murder victim Nirmala Panta into cremating her body in a low-key funeral that was guarded by police personnel on Monday.  

Four days after the teenager from Bhimdutta Municipality-18 was found raped and murdered in a sugarcane field at Nibukheta, her family performed her last rites on the Mahakali riverbanks. The funeral saw a rather small participation of only close friends and relatives, given that the incident had prompted the entire municipality to march in protest.  

Nirmala’s father Yagya Raj said many people could not attend the funeral because it was performed under duress.

The family had until Sunday refused to receive Nirmala’s body, which was kept at the Mahakali Zonal Hospital, demanding that the authorities arrest and prosecute the perpetrators first.

Yagya Raj said he was forced to take Nirmala’s body out of the hospital and cremate her by the local administration.

“They told me that I would be criminally responsible for any damage of properties and casualties if the protest over my daughter’s killing became violent,” he said.

Chief District Officer (CDO) Kumar Bahadur Khadka, however, said that Nirmala’s family had agreed to perform her final rites after the local administration vowed to bring the culprits to justice in a meeting that was held on Sunday evening.

“Nirmala’s relatives were convinced after we promised to take stern action against her murderers,” Khadka said.

But neither Nirmala’s family nor the people of Bhimdutta Municipality are satisfied with the way the case is being handled.

They accused the local administration of downplaying the incident.

Nirmala’s uncle Bhoj Raj said the local administration sent police personnel to his niece’s funeral fearing protest from local residents.

“The local administration used coercion tactics to get rid of the body. There has been no agreement whatsoever with the authorities. Our protest will continue until the persons responsible for the crime are duly prosecuted,” he said.  

Meanwhile, student organisations affiliated to various political parties staged a sit-in outside the District Administration Office on Monday, demanding action against the persons responsible behind the heinous crime.

A team from the Nepal Police Central Investigation Bureau has arrived in the district to investigate into the case. The team, led by SP Angur GC, inspected the incident site and interviewed the locals and some people in the authority  on Sunday evening.

A police source said that six suspects had been arrested in connection to the incident.

Published: 31-07-2018 07:27

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