Fourth body recovered from Bheri River on WednesdayFamily members and relatives of the deceased had found the body.
The body of another individual related to the Soti incident was recovered from Aadhere along the Bheri river in Chaurjahari Municipality, Rukum (West) on Wednesday. Family members and relatives of 18-year-old Lokendra Sunar of Behri Municipality in Jajarkot recovered his body from the river.
The body has been taken to Jajarkot District Hospital for post mortem. With the new death, the number of people who died in the Soti incident has reached four.
On Saturday, locals from Soti Village in Chaurjahari Municipality, Rukum (West), had chased away Nabaraj BK of Jajarkot and 18 of his friends who had accompanied Nabaraj to the village to help him elope with a girl from the ‘upper-caste’. A day later, the bodies of Nabaraj and his friend Tikaram Sunar, both of whom were Dalits, were found on the banks of the Bheri river. The body of Ganesh Budha was recovered on Monday while Govinda Shahi, 17, and Sanju BK, 17, are still missing.
The victims’ families allege that the villagers had beaten them to death and thrown them into the river. Saroj Bhadel, one of the 18 friends who had accompanied Nabaraj, said a group of around 50 people pelted stones and chased them towards the Bheri river. He claimed that the villagers bludgeoned Nabaraj to death and threw his body into the river.
The victims’ families have lodged a murder charge against 20 individuals in the Jajarkot District Police Office. On Tuesday, 12 people, including the 17-year-old girl, her parents and ward Chairperson Dambar Bahadur Malla of Soti, were arrested for investigation.
“We have taken them in custody and started investigating the incident. Police are searching for eight others involved in the incident,” said Thag Bahadur KC, deputy superintendent of police in Rukum (West).
On Tuesday, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa told the National Assembly that the government had formed a five-member team to investigate the incident.
On Wednesday, security chiefs along with officials from the District Administration Office inspected the incident site.
“The field inspection was carried out to find the details of the incident on the basis of statements provided by the victims’ families, locals and eyewitnesses,” KC said.
Meanwhile, a rescue team of seven individuals, including three divers, was deployed along the Bheri riverside from Wednesday to search for the missing people.
On Wednesday, the National Human Rights Commission also issued a statement and directed the government to conduct an in-depth and impartial investigation into the incident and take action against the guilty. The commission has also requested the government to compensate and provide reliefs to the victim families immediately.