Citizens observe 150th day of Nirmala’s death

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Dec 24, 2018-

Citizens campaigning for justice for Nirmala Pant observed the 150th day of the teenager’s death on Sunday by painting “Nirmala 150” on the pavement of New Baneshwor in the Capital. It was their way of drawing the government’s attention towards the lack of progress in the investigation of the case.

Thirteen-year-old Nirmala of Bhimdattanagar, Kanchanpur, was murdered after rape on July 26. Authorities have failed to identify the culprits till date, a large part of which is due to police tampering with the evidence from the site where Nirmala’s body was discovered.  

Nirmala’s relatives, human rights activists and concerned citizens have been staging protests in different parts of the country nearly five months since her murder.

Pritam Subedi is a regular fixture in “Justice for Nirmala” rallies in Kathmandu. Armed with a brush and white paint, he was busy writing “Nirmala 150” on the pavement of New Baneshwor on Sunday.

“This is our symbolic protest to exert pressure on the government,  to keep the government awake regarding the case,” said Subedi.

The campaigners began painting the pavement from Sangam Sweets up to the main gate of Everest Hotel. Between these two points-- within about 100 metres or so-- they managed to drive home their message more than 30 times.

Besides writing on the pavement, the campaigners also distributed around 1,000 leaflets that read “150 Days of Impunity” and a message to the public to send SMS to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and Nepal Police chief IG Sarbendra Khanal, asking them when will justice be served.

“We want justice but at the same time we are worried that police will try to frame an innocent man,” one campaigner said, referring to Dilip Singh Bista as well as two of the latest police suspects in Nirmala murder case, Bishal Chaudhary and Pradip Regmi.

While Chaudhary was freed from police custody on Saturday after being cleared by the DNA evidence, Regmi remains in detention.

Police have been claiming that both Chaudhary and Rawal confessed to their involvement in Nirmala’s rape and murder.

But Chaudhary told the media upon his release on Saturday that police had tortured him during interrogation to make him confess.

“Chaudhary can say anything after his release. His DNA might not have matched because only one person’s DNA sample was recovered from the victim’s vaginal swab. Still, that does not rule him out from our list of suspects,” said SSP Uttam Raj Subedi, Nepal Police spokesperson, adding that Chaudhary, free or not, is still a major suspect in Nirmala murder case.

Published: 24-12-2018 07:42

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