Parliamentary committee directs formation of Dalit cell in Nepal PolicePanel on law and justice calls for separate unit to deal with cases of caste-based discrimination.
Amid increasing incidents of caste-based violence in the country, a parliamentary committee has directed the government and Nepal Police to form a separate Dalit unit within the police.
The parliamentary committee on Law and Justice asked for another cell in the police like women and cyber, to investigate and deal with the cases of caste-based discriminations.
The committee had summoned Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister for Law and Justice Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe, Attorney General Agni Kharel and Nepali Police chief Thakur Gyawali to inquire about the progress in investigating the two cases of caste-based violence in Rukum (West) and Rupandehi districts.
In Rupandehi, Birendra Bhar, 25, on May 22, allegedly raped Angira Pasi. Local residents, the next day, caught Bhar and presented him before ward chairperson Amar Bahadur Chaudhary, who instead of taking the accused to the police, asked him to take Pasi along as wife.
On May 23, the victim’s body was found hanging near the Rohini stream in Devdaha Municipality-11. Bhar’s family is reported to have rejected Pasi saying that she did not belong to their caste.
The same day, locals from Soti village in Chaurjahari Municipality in 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 so-called upper caste. A day later, the bodies of Nabaraj and his friend Tikaram Sunar, both of them Dalits, were found on the banks of the Bheri river.
The bodies of Ganesh Budha, Lokendra Sunar and Ganesh Budha, who had gone missing in the river, were recovered from the riverbank within a span of days. Gyawali said the search for Govinda Shahi, who was among the 19 in Nabaraj’s team, is underway.
“The committee has directed the formation of a separate cell in Nepal Police to look into the cases of caste-based discrimination and violence,” Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, chairperson of the committee, told the Post. The parliamentary committee has also called for a fair probe into the incidents and stern action against the culprits.
Thapa told the meeting that despite strong legal measures in place, discrimination is prevalent in society not just in Nepal but in developed countries like the United States. He, however, said there will be impartial study and the culprits will be brought to book.
Lawmakers attending the meeting argued that it was necessary to form a parliamentary committee to investigate the grave crimes. They concluded that the committee should be visiting Soti village if no parliamentary probe team is formed.
Speaking at the meeting, Kharel promised to carry out a fair and impartial probe into the incident. Without naming anyone, he said investigating officials had been receiving calls from some leaders. “I have asked them to divert their calls to me. I will deal with them,” he told the meeting.
Kharel, hinting at the case of rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Pant in Kanchanpur, said they would foil every attempt to derail the investigation like in the past.
Among the 20 charged by the victims’ families, police have arrested 18 people in connection with the Chaurjahari killings. A joint-secretary-led team formed by the Home Ministry has already started a probe into the incident.
According to police chief Gyawali, a team led by Senior Superintendent of Police, along with a separate squad from the Central Investigation Bureau, is investigating the incident too.
The National Human Rights Commission is probing the gruesome killings independently.