Five people murdered in Rupandehi farm; suspect in police custodyThe murder suspect prone to erratic mood swings, said police and locals.
A 32-year-old man was taken in police custody on the charge of murdering five people in Rupandehi district on Monday night.
Police said the incident happened at a cattle farm in Maihiya Village of Tilottama Municipality Ward No. 10.
Superintendent of Police Hem Kumar Thapa said the suspect, Jhasendra Sinjali, was a worker at the farm and he has been charged with the murder of three fellow workers and two others who were said to be spendin]g the night at the farm.
The victims have been identified as Madhav Musahar, 40, and his wife Janaki, 37, both of them workers at the farm, and three teenagers Pokharaj Musahar, Karan Chaudhary and Ashish Chaudhary.
“The victims were bludgeoned to death with a shovel. Their bodies were found at the same spot. Sinjali was found unconscious in a haystack near the farm,” said Inspector Laxman Thapa of the Area Police Office, Manglapur.
Sinjali was taken to Crimson Hospital in Manigram for a medical check-up before he was transported to the Area Police Office in Butwal.
People who knew Sinjali said he was an alcoholic and prone to mood swings.
“We suspect that the accused man has some form of mental illness. He has repeatedly changed his statement about the incident,” Khadga Bahadur Khatri, spokesperson for the District Police Office, Rupandehi, said.
Sinjali had joined the farm on April 28. The farm owner, Krishna Bahadur Pun, said he had come asking for a job during the lockdown.
“He said he was in trouble because his wife left him and he had no money to sustain himself,” Pun said. “He looked like a decent person and he had done farm work before, so I hired him.”
Pun said Sinjali was a good worker and the only thing bad about him was that he used to get drunk almost every evening.
Sinjali used to eat at Pun’s house and sleep in a barn. On Monday night, Sinjali had left for the farm at 9pm.
It was Pun who discovered the blood-soaked victims inside the barn.
Their bodies were found lined up together. Police are investigating whether they were murdered at the same spot or their bodies were moved later.
Sinjali, originally from Surkhet’s Lekbesi Municipality, had arrived in Butwal three years ago. He had worked in three farms before joining Pun’s farmland. Police said he had been removed from his previous jobs because of frequent fights with his wife.
Ram Sahani, a previous employer of Sinjali, said he had removed the husband-wife duo from their jobs in late April after the wife attempted suicide following a fight with Sinjali.
After the incident, Sinjali’s wife had moved to Butwal.
“He used to get into brawls when drunk. He was drunk on Monday as well,” said Sandip Neupane, a local man. “Of late, he would talk about the pain of being abandoned by his wife.”
Police said the incident has been all the more mysterious given all the dead were found lying together on the floor. Two of the victims, Madhav and his wife, used to sleep at a barn 15 metres from the incident site. Until 10 pm on Monday, they were at their sleeping quarters, according to Golari Musiyar, Madhav’s sister-in-law who lives in the adjacent room.
“But they were not there at about 1am,” she said. Golari said Sinjali, who used to sleep at a nearby barn, called her at around the same time, knocking on her door.
When she opened the door and scolded him for calling her so late in the night, he turned away before turning off the lights from the main switch.
“I then checked my sister’s room and both my sister and her husband were not there. I was sick with fear and locked my room,” she said.
The neighbour couple Krishna and Dil Bahadur Tharu said they didn’t hear any noise on Monday night.
“We suspect that the victims were murdered in their sleep, as there were no signs of struggle,” Khatri, the spokesperson for the District Police Office, Rupandehi, said.
Karan Musahar, the 18-year-old son of Madhav and Janaki, said that Sinjali used to get into brawls with his father ever since he joined the farm.
“He had threatened to kill my parents in a fight just ten days ago,” Karan said.
Karan and his ten-year-old brother Arjun were at their aunt’s home on Monday night.
The provincial police has formed a three-member team led by SSP Rajkumar Baidawar to investigate the case.
“We are taking statements from the suspect and he has admitted to the crime,” Baidawar said. “We will investigate the case from all angles.”