Parliamentary committee to be formed to probe Rukum (West) incident of Dalit killingsLawmakers, rights activists and international and national rights bodies have been demanding a fair investigation to ensure justice to victims.
Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota has agreed to form a special parliamentary panel to probe into the Rukum (West) incident of Dalit killings.
Sapkota issued a ruling for the formation of the committee as per Rule 177 of the House of Representatives Regulation 2075 at Friday’s House meeting.
“A parliamentary probe committee will investigate the incident and present a report,” Sapkota ruled.
Earlier on Friday, leaders of the opposition parties said they won’t let the House meeting proceed unless the Speaker issued a ruling to form a parliamentary probe committee.
On May 23, locals from Soti in Chaurjahari Municipality in Rukum (West) had chased away Nabaraj BK of Jajarkot and 18 of his friends who had accompanied the former to the village to help him elope with his girlfriend, who belonged to the so-called upper caste.
Six youths were killed by drowning in the Bheri river.
According to victims, hundreds of locals had ‘thrashed’ them and chased them away.
Besides Nabaraj, Ganesh Budha Magar, Tikaram Nepali, Lokendra Sunar, Govinda Shahi and Sanju BK were killed in the incident.
The incident has drawn international attention, with the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and European Union Delegation to Nepal condemning the Dalits killings and calling for a fair probe into caste-based discrminaiton and crime.
On Friday, as soon as the House convened, Nepali Congress Whip Pushpa Bhusal Gautam said that the main opposition won't let the meeting proceed unless a parliamentary committee is formed to probe into the Rukum (West) killings of Dalit youths.
Gautam also said that statements made by Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Attorney General Agni Kharel and some leaders of the ruling party, including Janardan Sharma, a former home minister, regarding the Rukum (West) incident were suspicious and that such statements could influence the probe.
While announcing the formation of a probe committee, Home Minister Thapa on May 26 had told the House that the youths had run towards Bheri river, even though reports suggested that they were chased away by villagers.
Similarly, on Tuesday Attorney General Kharel had also made a controversial statement, saying the facts collected by the government-formed probe committee could be different from what have been reported in the media, in what was criticised by many as an attempt to influence the investigation.
“Autopsy reports of the murdered youths are in contrast to the statement of the home minister, who had told the House that the youths had died after jumping into the river,” said Gautam. “This incident speaks volume about discrimination and ineqaulity prevalent in our society and it is linked with human rights and humanity, so it needs discussions at a wider level.”
On Thursday, a delegation of parliamentarians from different parties, including the ruling Nepal Communist Party, and rights activists had handed over a memorandum to Speaker Sapkota demanding a high-level parliamentary panel to probe the Rukun (West) incident.