Clashes and demonstrations continue in Mahendranagar

  • Kanchanpur rape and murder incident
Demonstrators demand police to interrogate Nirmala’s friend Roshani Bam and her family members, who were the last persons to see the teenager alive

Aug 23, 2018-Clashes and demonstrations continued over the rape and murder case of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta in Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur, on Wednesday.

Security personnel lobbed tear gas canisters and swung batons at demonstrators gathered outside the house of Nirmala’s friend Roshani Bam late in the afternoon.

A large crowd assembled outside Roshani’s house in Bhagatpur, demanding that she and her sister should be interrogated about Nirmala’s death.

The demonstrators believe that since Roshani and her family members were the last persons to see Nirmala alive, they could have some clue about the incident—perhaps even lead police to the real culprit.

Police are meanwhile reluctant to question Nirmala’s friend Roshani and her family members. They are of the view that the case has been settled with the arrest of Dilip Kumar Bista, who has confessed to the rape and murder of Nirmala on July 26.  

Nirmala’s family and a large section of the Mahendra residents have dismissed Bista’s involvement in the case. They have been insisting that Bista, a man suffering from mental illness who wandered about the town asking for cigarettes from strangers, could not have committed

the crime.

Earlier on Wednesday, Nirmala’s friends and relatives were joined by a large number of Mahendranagar residents in a rally, demanding police to arrest the real culprit. Local grocers and traders voluntarily shuttered their businesses to join the demonstration.

Rallies and demonstrations have become a daily occurrence in Mahendranagar ever since Nirmala’s body was recovered in a sugar cane field on July 27, a day after she was reported missing.  

The local residents are enraged at police and the local administration for not taking the case seriously. Their rage deepened particularly after police allegedly threatened Nirmala’s father with criminal charges for the protest that broke out following his daughter’s gruesome murder.   

When police presented 41-year-old Bista as Nirmala’s rapist and murderer on Monday, the protest only took more violent turn. Nirmala’s family and the people who have been protesting tirelessly for the past four weeks are convinced that police framed Bista to hide their own incompetence and to quell their protest.

DSP Angur KC of the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police told the Post on Wednesday that BIsta was arrested based on evidences that were collected from the crime scene. The investigators are preparing to confirm Bista’s involvement through DNA verification, he added.  

Lawmakers express concern over incident

DHANGADHI: Lawmakers of Province 7 have expressed their concerns regarding the ongoing protest in Mahendranagar over the rape and murder case of Nirmala Panta. Speaking at the zero hour of the Provincial Assembly in Dhangadhi on Wednesday, the lawmakers asked the government to be sensitive over the security issue in Mahendranagar and investigate into the case seriously. “Nobody believes that the person presented by police as the main accused committed the crime. There should be a thorough investigation into the case,” said lawmaker Krishna Chaudhary. Lawmakers Rana Bahadur Rawal and Archana Gahatraj also urged the government to take necessary steps to deliver justice to Nirmala and her family.

Published: 23-08-2018 07:48

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