Pants’ fight for justice enters fourth month

  • Nirmala’s sisters say attending school and focusing on studies is an ordeal
  • Kanchanpur rape and murder
- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Nov 27, 2018-

Life for the Pant family is only getting tougher with each passing day. The Pant family’s fight for justice for their daughter Nirmala’s unsolved rape-and-murder case stepped into its fourth month on Monday, and yet, the family sees no light at the end of the tunnel.

The unjust unravelling of Nirmala’s case has deeply altered the lives of the Pant family. While her parents, Yagyaraj and Durgadevi, protest daily, seeking justice for their daughter for the last four months, her sisters Manisha and Saraswoti struggle to live routine life. Attending school is an ordeal for the siblings because of the emotional and psychological trauma the tragedy has inflicted on the family.

“Whenever I sit to study, my mind wanders to my sister, Nirmala, and I wonder about what must have happened to her. All I can think about is my sister,” said Manisha, a grade 10 student of Saraswoti Secondary School in Ultakham.

Being older, Manisha currently has the responsibility of taking care of younger sister Saraswoti, and being in-charge of the home while their parents remain preoccupied in the fight for justice elsewhere.

“I am constantly worried about my family. I am very worried about my father’s health as well, as it is deteriorating steadily,” she said. Her father, Yagyaraj, who had been staging an indefinite sit-in demanding an investigation into the incident, was taken to Kathmandu on Sunday because of his poor health.

Prior to the tragic event, Manisha excelled in studies. She either ranked first or second in her class, but nowadays she has difficulty focusing on studies. 

“I am constantly worried that I will not pass my exams with good marks,” said Manisha. She hopes the government succeeds in arresting Nirmala’s killers so that her family would have peace and life would return to normal.

The mental state of 11-year-old Saraswoti is more miserable. “I cannot sleep without my mother,” said Saraswoti. The sisters currently sleep in their neighbour’s home every night since their mother Durgadevi is in Kathmandu attending to their ailing father.  

Other students of Saraswoti Secondary School remain in fear after the shocking incident because of the frequent visits of police personnel to the school for investigations.

Saraswoti Secondary School Headmaster Jagannath Pandey said the school’s environment has been affected after Nirmala’s rape and killing. “A majority of the girls are frightened now,” said Pandey, adding that Nirmala’s death has created panic among the girls. “Students are frightened to walk alone near the sugarcane field where Nirmala’s body was found, but they have to use the route to reach school every day.” 

Nirmala was found murdered in this sugarcane field in Bhimdutta Municipality in Kanchanpur on July 27, a day after she was reported missing. Postmortem reports showed the teenager had been raped and strangled to death.

Published: 27-11-2018 08:46

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