One more body recovered from the Bheri River on MondayThe third victim was among the 18 who had accompanied Nabaraj BK to Soti in Rukum (West). The deceased Nabaraj was killed in his pursuit of a girl whose family deemed him ‘untouchable’
Bhim Bahadur Singh & Hari Gautam
Police on Monday recovered the body of one more person from the Bheri river in Rukum (West).
On Sunday, the bodies of two Dalit men—Nabaraj BK of Ward No. 4 in Bheri Municipality and Tikaram Sunar of Chaurajahari Municipality—were recovered from the river banks. Nabaraj had gone to Soti, accompanied by 18 other friends, to bring home a 17-year-old girl as his bride when the locals allegedly attacked them and chased them towards the Bheri River.
“We found the body of one of Nabaraj BK’s friends in Dhalla along the Bheri river on Monday. He was among the 18 people who had accompanied Nabaraj to Soti in Chaurjahari Municipality of Rukum (West) on Saturday,” said Kabiraj Rokaya, inspector at the District Police Office in Rukum (West).
Twelve of the men were injured in Saturday’s incident, while three are still missing. Search for the missing persons is underway, police said.
Of the injured, two are undergoing treatment at Chaurjahari Hospital whereas the remaining have returned home after receiving treatment for their injuries, police said.
“Security personnel from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force are searching for the missing ones,” said Rokaya.
The Rukum (West) District Police Office has formed an investigation committee led by Rokaya to look into the incident.
Nabaraj’s mother, Urmila BK, said her son was to join the Nepal Police as a constable but was unable to participate in the police training due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
“He was our only son and his life had just begun. He wanted to get married and settle down and have a job,” she said. “But it’s all over now.”
According to the police and Nabaraj’s mother, the girl’s family was against the union for they belonged to the so-called ‘upper-caste’ and Nabaraj came from a Dalit family.
“I had asked him not to go to the girl’s village. Her family had beaten him twice in the past. They always mistreated him because he was a Dalit, an untouchable,” Urmila said.
Nabaraj had been in a relationship with the 17-year-old girl from Soti for the past three years.
“We tried to convince him not to marry the girl because we knew they would never accept us. But he loved her and wanted to marry her,” said Urmila.
This was Nabaraj’s second effort to bring the girl home. He had gone to Soti some three months ago but was detained on attempted charge of marrying an underage girl. The Area Police Office in Chaurjahari released him on condition that he marry her after she attains the legal age for marriage.
“The girl had come to our house twice in January. However, the girl’s family was against their relationship and wanted to separate them,” she said.
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 on Saturday. He claimed that the villagers bludgeoned Nabaraj to death and threw his body into the river.
“Some police personnel reached the incident site while we were being attacked but they did not take any action,” claimed Bhadel.
All three bodies recovered so far have been kept in Jajarkot District Hospital for postmortem. However, the deceased’s families have not allowed postmortem to be conducted on the bodies, accusing the authorities of attempting to protect the perpetrators.
“We are working in coordination with Rukum (West) Police to investigate the incident,” said Kishwor Kumar Shrestha, DSP of Jajarkot. According to him, twelve people, including the girl’s parents, have been detained for questioning.
“Search to detain the other people involved in the incident is underway,” he added.