Police detain activists for pasting Nirmala posters

- BHAWANI BHATTA, NAYAK PAUDEL, Kanchanpur & KATHMANDU

Dec 1, 2018-

Police arrested 12 campaigners for pasting posters at Maitighar Mandala on Friday for demanding justice for the 13-year-old Nirmala Pant, raped and murdered on July 27.

The text of posters asked the government questions on the protracted delay in bringing to justice Nirmala’s rapists and killers. Posters dominated Maitighar Mandala thematically this week. The leaflets seeking justice followed posters advertising the government’s new ‘Social Security Scheme’, prominently displaying Prime Minister KPS Oli’s photograph.

“We are the citizens of the country and we have rights to demand justice. If posters displaying the prime minister’s photograph can be pasted all over the Capital, why can’t we paste leaflets demanding justice for Nirmala?” Pritam Subedi, a campaigner of the movement and one of the arrested individual told the Post. Police officers told the campaigners not to paste the leaflets, but they ignored the police order and continued pasting.

“It is true police told us to stop pasting the leaflets, but why should we? Have we reached the point where the government decides whether or not we should raise our voice to demand justice?” asked Subedi. “The police prevented us from continuing our activities and also ripped the posters we had pasted.”

Defending the police officers’ actions, Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range said we have orders to stop all protests during the Asia-Pacific Summit.

Metropolitan Police Range Chief SSP Basanta Lama said, “We have orders to prevent such activities until the summit ends. Maitighar Mandala is a major route for the VVIPs passage. While the campaigners pasted posters, three VVIPs cars were about to pass this area so we had to arrest them.”

“We had requested them several times, but they did not comply. We did not arrest them for demanding justice for Nirmala.”

A similar campaign took place in Kanchanpur. The campaigners used the same leaflet that read ‘We found government, but not justice’ and ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied!” with #Impunity splashed at the top.

Speaking to the Post, Collective Campaign for Peace representative and activist Sharada Chand said, “We have been protesting for a long time and still the government has not fulfilled our demand which is just to provide justice for Nirmala. We are bound to use new ways of protesting to draw the government’s attention.”

Chand and others have been campaigning for justice along with Nirmala’s parents.

Despite street protests for several months to put pressure on the government to bring to justice Nirmala’s killers, the police investigation into the case has made no progress.

“We have government, but we don’t have justice. We are waiting and it has been more than four months. Sometimes it seems that we don’t have government,” said Manisha Pant, sister of Nirmala, while pasting a leaflet.

Local residents and Nirmala family continue their sit-ins in front of the District Administration Office, Kanchanpur, with the hope of getting justice.

Published: 01-12-2018 07:50

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