Relatives of youths killed in Soti question 'ambiguous' post-mortem reportsProtesters accuse doctors of caving under political pressure and vandalise Jajarkot hospital.
Friends and relatives of the youths who were allegedly lynched in Soti, Rukum (West) torched and vandalised Jajarkot District Hospital on Monday, claiming that the postmortem reports were falsified.
The agitated crowd stormed the hospital compound at around 4:30pm, vandalised the gate and set the hospital’s morgue on fire.
“The doctors deliberately prepared weak postmortem reports due to political pressure. We feel further victimised,” said Padam Bahadur Budha, father of Ganesh Budha who was killed in the incident.
Padam Bahadur said his son had multiple wounds in his head and other body parts which were not mentioned in the postmortem report.
As the friends and relatives of the victims resorted to vandalism and arson, security personnel had fired five warning shots to contain the situation.
Padam Bahadur, his wife and five other people were injured in the incident. Two security personnel were also hurt.
The local administration had deployed security personnel in the hospital area on Sunday evening, suspecting possible protest.
“We knew about the clash at the hospital while we were in the security meeting. The administration did not allow the security personnel deployed there to open fire,” said Chief District Officer Janak Panta.
On May 23, villagers of Soti in Chaurjahari Municipality, Rukum (West), had allegedly chased away Nabaraj BK and 18 of his friends from the neighbouring district of Jajarkot upon learning that the group had come to help Nabaraj elope with his 17-year-old girlfriend.
The bodies of Nabaraj and five of his friends were later recovered from the Bheri river. They were allegedly murdered and thrown into the river.
As per the autopsy report, Nabaraj had sustained injuries in his head and arms.
A doctor at the Karnali Provincial Hospital in Surkhet, who studied the autopsy reports, told the Post that the report does not mention the nature of the wounds, whether they were injuries caused after death or inflicted by sharp-edged weapons.
“The report mentions wounds in the head and arms. It is entirely up to the court how to interpret the injuries,” said the doctor, who did not wish to be identified.
Nagendra Shah, the coordinator of a struggle committee fighting to ensure justice to the families of the Soti incident, said the families of the six young men who died in the incident have been further aggrieved by the ambiguous autopsy reports.
He claimed the local administration, police and doctors caved in to political pressure to mask a heinous hate crime perpetrated by the people from the so-called upper caste.
“We will organise further protest programmes against the conspiracies being hatched to protect the perpetrators,” he said.
Meanwhile, the District Court of Rukum (West) issued an order to remand two accused, aged 16 and 17, in a reform centre.
The single bench of Judge Bidhyaraj Paudel remanded them into judicial custody in the reform centre.
The Rukum District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed three different charges against 34 people for their alleged involvement in the killings of Dalit youths in Soti, Rukum (West). Homicide, attempted homicide and caste-based discrimination and untouchability charges have been filed against them.