Harsh action sought for rape convicts

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Aug 21, 2018-

Nepal’s #RageAgainstRape movement takes the centre stage once again as activists demand—both on the streets and on social media—harsh legal measures against rape convicts.

The demand for harsh actions, including capital punishment, follows enforcement of the new Criminal Code, at a time when reported cases of rape have spiralled across the country in recent years.

According to Nepal Police, some 1,480 cases of rape

were reported between 2017 and 2018, besides 727 rape attempts. That’s four cases every day. Many cases, activists say, go unreported as victims are forced to keep quiet, due to pressures at home and the fear of being ostracised by the community.

“If the victims were supported by the society and family members, there would be more cases reported and many rapists languishing behind the bars,” said Mohna Ansari, a member of the National Human Rights Commission.

Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Thapa, the Nepal Police spokesman, agrees. “Family members should support the victim even if their relatives are culprit. The victim will be able to recover mentally when the culprit is locked behind the bars,” he told the Post. When family members or relatives are the perpetrators, rape victims are pressed to withdraw charges, he added.

The new Criminal Code that came into effect on August 17 provisions longer jail terms. The maximum 15-year sentence for one convicted of rape has been increased to 20 years. But activists say the punishment doesn’t go far enough, demanding capital punishment against the criminals.

The new jail terms in the Criminal Code are definitely harsh, said Anita Sapkota Chapagain, senior advocate and women’s rights activist. But since strict laws have not discouraged rape, she remarked, capital punishment should be introduced to curb the crime.

Women rights activist and advocate Meera Dhungana asks the government to enforce the legal measures. “Many victims don’t file cases because they are not sure if the authorities will take action against the culprit,” she said.

Published: 21-08-2018 07:24

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