Nepal Army soldier held on charge of assaulting Chepang youth in Chitwan National Park in JulyThe Chitwan District Police Office arrested the accused 10 days after receiving the second complaint from the father of the deceased.
The District Police Office in Chitwan has arrested a Nepal Army soldier on the charge of assaulting 24-year-old Raj Kumar Chepang of Ward No. 2 in Rapti Municipality, Chitwan, over two months ago.
On July 22, Raj Kumar died from what is believed to be the injuries inflicted by the Army personnel after he was caught inside the park.
Nantiraj Gurung, superintendent of police, also the chief at the District Police Office in Chitwan, said police have arrested Chiran Kumar Budha, 40, a sergeant of the Nepal Army deployed at Liglig Post in Batuk Dal Battalion of the Chitwan National Park.
Budha, who is a resident of Geruwa Ward No. 5 in Bardiya district, was arrested on September 20.
“Since then, the Chitwan District Court has remanded Budha in custody for 15 days. We had arrested him as per the FIR lodged at the District Police Office by Bishnulal Chepang, Raj Kumar’s father. The court has ordered further investigation into the case,” Gurung said.
On July 24, Bishnulal had filed a complaint at the District Police Office in Chitwan demanding legal action against those involved in assaulting his son, Raj Kumar. On September 10, Bishnulal had filed another complaint at the police office mentioning the names of those involved in the incident.
“In the complaint, Bishnulal has mentioned the name of Budha, who was the then sergeant of Liglig Post in Batuk Dal Battalion, and stated that Budha had beaten his son which later led to Raj Kumar’s death,” said SP Gurung.
The Chitwan District Police Office arrested Budha 10 days after receiving the second complaint. According to Gurung, the accused was arrested after the police received post mortem, viscera and blood test reports of the deceased.
On Tuesday, the police office also conducted a polygraph test on Budha.
Bharatpur Hospital had sent Raj Kumar’s body to Kathmandu for postmortem on July 26.
On July 16, Raj Kumar and six of his friends, including two women, were detained by the Army patrol inside the park. They had gone to collect Ghongi, a species of snails considered a delicacy, in the Jyudi river inside the park. They were released on the same day. But Raj Kumar was taken ill after he was released and died on July 22, according to his father, Bishnulal.
Nepal Chepang Sangh had also staged demonstrations after Raj Kumar’s death, demanding action against the guilty and compensation to the family.
According to Santa Chepang, chairman of the ward unit of Nepal Chepang Sangh in Rapti- 2, the authorities had agreed to provide Rs 1 million to the deceased’s family and they had also assured the family that they would take action against the guilty.
“We had then stopped our protest programmes,” he said.
On July 31, a written agreement was drafted to provide Rs 1million as relief to Raj Kumar’s family. In a meeting that was held in the District Administration Office, the park had agreed to provide Rs 700,000 and the Rapti Municipal Office had agreed to provide Rs 300,000 to the bereaved family.
However, the family is yet to receive the full amount.
“So far, we have received only Rs 100,000 from the park for my son’s funeral rites,” said Bishnulal.
Ananath Baral, chief conservation officer at the national park, said the park authorities are arranging for funds to compensate Raj Kumar’s family.
“The authorities had agreed to provide justice and relief to us. We are still waiting for that to happen,” said Bishnulal.