Nirmala’s father brought to Kathmandu, doctors say no signs of mental illness

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Nov 26, 2018-

Yagya Raj Pant’s hands were shivering as he clasped them together, his eyes red with grief, as he was rushed to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu after a 20-hour journey from Dhangadhi.

Pant, who had been staging an indefinite sit-in demanding an investigation into the rape and murder of his 13-year old daughter, Nirmala, appeared flustered and showed erratic signs in public. Hours after he was brought to the emergency room at the hospital on Sunday, doctors said early reports showed no signs of mental illness.

“The CT scan report didn’t show any problems in his brain,” said Tirtha Man Shrestha, emergency faculty chief at the hospital. “But as he has gone through a difficult time, he might be transferred to the Intensive Coronary Care Unit for a psychiatric consultation.”

Shrestha said Pant was suffering from viral fever and he had an infection in his liver. Two of his toes had received a minor fracture, which doctors suspect was the result of Pant’s violent response after he was barred from boarding a Buddha Air flight to Kathmandu on Saturday citing his erratic behaviour. When Pant was asked to sit in a vehicle at the airport, he broke the vehicle’s window with his leg.

“This was the first time Yagya Raj seemed to lose control of himself,” said Sharada Chand, an activist with Collective Campaign for Peace, who has been campaigning along with Nirmala’s parents.

From the day their daughter’s body was found on July 27, both of Nirmala’s parents have been involved in a series of protests, dozens of meetings with government authorities and political leaders, and an indefinite sit-in before the Kanchanpur District Administration Office. Local officials and family members close to the Pants told the Post that the father has not been able to tackle the stress as the perpetrators of the crime are still free after four months since the incident.

“It’s a difficult incident for a father to recover from,” said Sudip Kharel, the chief medical officer at Mahakali Zonal Hospital. “When I talked to Yagya Raj in course of his check-up a couple of days ago, he said he had been taking anti-depressants for a few years.”

When Pant was denied the flight, he was driven to Seti Zonal Hospital. From there he was brought to Kathmandu on a private vehicle. Durga Devi Pant, the mother of Nirmala, two close relatives, a health worker and three police officers accompanied Pant from Dhangadhi.

According to activists who have been participating in the sit-in, Pant’s behaviour started changing last week.

“When he sees small children, he starts calling them Nirmala. Sometimes he

also wanders aimlessly, talks to himself and scolds the government, demanding justice for his daughter,” said Chand. “At times, it has taken more than a few people to control him.”

Activists and supporters of the campaign expressed shock when videos of Pant that showed him angry and erratic started going viral on social platforms last week.

“Yagya Raj was not so tensed about a week ago when we met the family,” said Amrita Lamsal, an activist who visited the Pant family in Kanchanpur early

last week. “A father has faced serious health issues and the government has

still not been able to respond by arresting the murderer.”

Published: 26-11-2018 07:24

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