70 women taken in police custody

Kathmandu, August 3:

At least 70 women activists were detained today when they were preparing to rally semi-naked women in Kathmandu to pressure the government to investigate the death of rights activist Laxmi Bohora in Kanchanpur.

The police said the women were arrested as rallying semi-naked in public was against the law.

“We will free all of them by the evening,” SP Sarbendra Khanal at the Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu said.

Bohora, a human rights defender associated with the Women Rehabilitation Centre, had committed suicide on May 6, according to the Mahakali Zonal Hospital’s report. The women activists, however, have been accusing husband Tek Raj Bohora and mother-in-law Dhana Devi Bohora of plotting Laxmi’s murder. The women activists, who have been staging a relay hunger strike at Maitighar Mandala since 22 days, decided to take to the streets today by wrapping a black cloth from chest to knee to draw the government’s attention to the case.

They were also demanding the government to form a high-level commission to address various forms of violence against women in the country.

Sarada Chand, coordinator of the protests, said the police early this morning manhandled women and forcefully removed tents from Maitighar Mandala while they were preparing to take out the rally.

“Police entered the tent when women were dressing in a black piece of cloth,” said Chand, adding that policemen and policewomen brutally beat women and took eight of them to the Nepal Police Club. When the police prevented us from taking out the rally programme from Maitighar, we organised an hour-long road block, Chand said, adding, “Later, we took out rallies from New Baneshwore and Thamel.”

Five women were injured in a clash, the police said. “Four of them have been discharged from hospital, while one is being treated,” the police said.

Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission expressed concern about the excessive

use of force by the police to disrupt a peaceful protest of

women activists. The commission urged the government to call women activists for talks and resolve the matter.

It has urged the government not to use excessive force, immediately release the detained women and provide medical treatment to injured women.

Meanwhile, Jagaran Nepal-For Women Rights, Peace and Governance condemned the police’s brutal act.