Nirmala’s parents call off indefinite sit-in after 105 days

- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Feb 23, 2019-

Parents of Nirmala Pant, who had been staging an indefinite sit-in for the past 105 days seeking justice to their deceased daughter, called off their protest on Friday owing to their deteriorating health.

Thirteen-year-old Nirmala was raped and subsequently murdered. Her body was found on a sugarcane field in Bhimdutta Municipality of Kanchanpur on July 27, 2018, a day after she was reported missing.

Nirmala’s father Yagyaraj and mother Durga Devi began their indefinite sit-in on November 11, 2018, on the premises of District Administration Office (DAO), Kanchanpur, demanding the authority identify and book the culprits in the case. Before resorting to the sit-in, the Pant couple vigorously fought for justice through protests, street demonstrations, reaching out to top government officials including the prime minister, and knocked on the doors of media houses.

“We have ended the sit-in but have not given up on our fight for justice,” said Yagyaraj. “We staged a sit-in for 105 days. Many justice seekers supported us, but the government showed reluctance in bringing the culprits before the public.”

He said, “The protest that started seeking justice will not stop until justice prevails.” Yagyaraj was brought to Kathmandu on November 24 for treatment after he showed signs of mental imbalance while he was staging the sit-in. After receiving treatment at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Yagyaraj returned to Mahendranagar after less than a month and continued with the sit-in.

“It’s been seven months since my daughter was killed. We have staged numerous protests but the government has yet to make public culprit(s),” says Durga Devi. Nirmala’s step mother, Laxmi, has also fallen ill due to continuous sit-in. She complains of headache, chest and abdomen pain. “We developed health problems due to the cold. We have decided

to halt our protest and seek treatment,” said Laxmi.

Before ending their sit-in, Yagyaraj submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli through District Administration Office, Kanchanpur stating that he is calling off the sit-in due to health reasons. Receiving the letter, Assistant Chief District Officer Shankar Bista assured Yagyaraj that he would inform the Home Ministry to make arrangements for providing necessary expenses for his treatment.

“We have lost all hopes of the culprit(s) ever being disclosed. But we will continue to put pressure on the authority,” said Durga Devi.

Published: 23-02-2019 12:20

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