Mystery surrounds the death of a Bardiya teen

  • cold case

Dec 11, 2018-

On most days, Pramila Chaudhary would take her family’s cattle out to graze in the forest near the Karnali river and return home by late afternoon. But on October 28, she didn’t come home even until late afternoon. That’s when her mother began to suspect that something was wrong.

“At around 11 am, she had her meal and took the cattle out to graze. We were worried about her as she didn’t return home by late afternoon. So we went out to look for her,” said Pramila’s mother Bedanti Chaudhary.

The family then informed police and together searched for her near the forest and the river perimeter till 8 pm that night. 

“We then had to call the search off because we were scared of wild elephants in the dense forest bordering India,” the mother said.

The next day, at around 10 am, Pramila’s relatives and neighbours said they discovered her body hanging from a tree in the forest.

“Pramila’s slippers were found 100 metres away from where her body was found and her clothes were ripped and full of dirt. There were wounds and blood in her mouth. We fear she was raped and murdered,” Bedanti told the Post.

Since then, parents and relatives of 14-year-old Chaudhary, whose body was found in the Lathuwa community forest in Bardiya, have asked authorities for a high-level investigation committee after Nepal Police ruled her death as a suicide case. Police are currently  running tests at its forensic science laboratory in Kathmandu. Arun Chaudhary, one of the three boys who accompanied Pramila to the forest, said they met her at around 11:30 am and parted ways as the boys had a plan to go swim in the river that day.

“She was missing when we returned from the river and the cattle were with Saainla Baje, a senior citizen from Rajapur who grazes his cattle in the forest every day,” said Arun. Pramila, the daughter of a freed Kamaiya (bonded labourer)was an eighth-grade student in Amar Shahid Dasarath Chand secondary school and was a fun and an outgoing person, according to her three siblings who are shaken after the mysterious death of their sister. “I will top the class this year, she would keep saying,” Sharmila, her younger sister told the Post. According to Pramila’s kins and neighbours, there were no reasons for the girl to commit suicide. “This is a murder after rape,” said neighbour Rajkumari.

Following the news of the discovery of her body, a few organisations had also held a rally demanding a fair investigation by a high-level committee on the ‘rape and murder’ of the 14-year-old while the local police maintain that it is ‘suicide by hanging’.

After Pramila’s body was discovered in the forest, the police took her body to Tikapur, Kailali for an autopsy because there were no 

doctors at the primary health centre in Rajapur and some six local people were interrogated in connection with 

the case.

“The investigation is ongoing. However, there is no evidence that would suggest rape and murder. Dr Nawraj Sharma’s post-mortem report concludes it is death by hanging,” said Rajapur DSP Tilak Bharati, who added that the evidence collected from the crime scene-used sanitary pad, undergarment, blood-stained clothes and leaves from the forest floor, have been sent to the central police forensic science laboratory in the Capital.

“The claims that it’s a murder and the girl was rape is baseless. It’s suicide. The local paper fabricated its report,” said Bardiya SP Surendra Prasad Mainali who added that the police had also taken vaginal swab samples and tests are being run at the centre.

Published: 11-12-2018 07:47

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