Rally demands #JusticeForNirmalaHundreds of citizens on Saturday afternoon joined a rally in the Capital following protests in Kanchanpur where a 14-year-old boy died and 24 people sustained severe injuries in police action.Routine life came to a standstill in the western town of Kanchanpur after local authorities imposed an indefinite curfew. On Friday police opened gunfire on protesters who demanded proper investigation and action against the rapist and murderer of 13-year-old girl Nirmala Panta.
Hundreds of citizens on Saturday afternoon joined a rally in the Capital following protests in Kanchanpur where a 14-year-old boy died and 24 people sustained severe injuries in police action.
Routine life came to a standstill in the western town of Kanchanpur after local authorities imposed an indefinite curfew. On Friday police opened gunfire on protesters who demanded proper investigation and action against the rapist and murderer of 13-year-old girl Nirmala Panta.
News of the street protests quickly spread on social media. Activists and public expressed their dissatisfaction and anger over the state’s use of extreme force and called for a rally to pressurise the government.
Civil society members, professionals, students, political party leaders and ordinary people including children marched from Maitighar Mandala to New Baneshwor to express their solidarity with the victim of Kanchanpur incident and to mourn the death of Panta, whose body was discovered in a sugarcane farm in Bhimdutta Municipality on July 27.
According to activist Hima Bista, the rally was organised to raise awareness about the rising cases of rape and hold the state accountable for addressing the grievances of the victims.
“The rally was organised in the Capital because this is where the powerful people live. We rallied to show that we are with the survivors because they cannot do it themselves. When independent citizens gather, the government must listen and act,” Bista told the Post, urging the government to fast track rape cases, arrange for resources and trained human resource to counsel rape survivors and to deal with such incidents.
Citizens have expressed their concerns over the rising number of rapes across the country, venting their ire at the government’s attitude of impunity. Many tweeted their concerns and demands for stern action against rape convicts under the hashtags #RageAgainstRape and #JusticeForNirmala.
Salina Pokharel, a student, criticised the government for not ensuring proper investigation and action against the rising incidents of rape.
“We have strict punishments for taking pictures of someone or trespassing, but there is no action against rape, which affects girls of every age,” said Pokharel.
Puja Karki, another attendee at the rally, said strong measures against the rapist alone would not solve the problem. “Girls are not safe even at home. There are incidents, when small girls have been raped by their relatives, family members and acquaintances. Family members should keep their children safe and teach them how to stay safe,” said Karki. Activist Luna Bhattarai lamented the state’s failure to realise the intensity of the problem.
“The rising number of rape cases is disturbing,” she said. “We hope our rally will knock the government to ensure a sensible response. We must also look into the way we are raising our children. They need to be taught to differentiate between wrong and right.”
Police told to suspend SP Bista
The Home Ministry has directed Nepal Police to suspend then Kanchanpur police chief SP Dilli Raj Bista for mishandling the Nirmala Panta rape and murder case.
The ministry on Saturday also asked the police to recall DSP Gyan Bahadur Sethi and Inspector Ekendra Khadka to the Police Headquarters for further probe. Home Ministry Spokesman Ram Krishna Subedi said the police headquarters has been asked to initiate the process of suspending Bista, which is a key demand of the protesters. Bista and Kanchanpur CDO Kumar Bahadur Khadka were recalled on Thursday.
Following the death of a teenage boy in police firing on Friday, the NCP called an emergency meeting of its secretariat on Saturday morning. It directed the government to take measures to trace the culprits, NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said.
A delegation of Province 7 lawmakers, led by NCP Standing Committee member Bhim Rawal, met with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal. They demanded immediate action against the culprits and relief for the bereaved family. PM Oli is said to have assured them that no effort would be spared to book the culprits.