Bishal Chaudhary in city for treatment

Kathmandu, December 25

Scared and lost, Bishal Chaudhary,18, who was arrested in connection with the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Bhimdatta Municipality, Kanchanpur, and released after 19 days in custody, arrived in Kathmandu today seeking medical treatment.

Bishal was arrested from Kanchanpur on December 5 on suspicion of his involvement in the rape and murder of Nirmala. Talking to THT, Bishal claimed that police officers had beaten him up by handcuffing and blindfolding him on the first day of his arrest. “Police officers then forced me to confess the crime at gunpoint,” he said, adding, “I cried and pleaded my innocence, but they didn’t listen to me. I confessed the crime fearing more torture or even death.” Bishal’s DNA sample had also been collected in connection with the case, but police have not yet revealed if it matched with Nirmala’s vaginal swap.

Bishal had quit school after Grade VI to earn a living for himself and his family. Bishal also worked for neighbours for money and was caught a few times for theft. “I  come from a poor family. This does not mean that police have the right to torture me.”

Bishal, who cannot properly speak in Nepali, speaks less and is reluctant to look directly into the eyes of any person talking to him. “I fear that anyone I’m talking to might be a cop, who would arrest me and torture me again.”

A relative, who is taking care of Bishal in Kathmandu, said Bishal was living in constant fear and often woke up at night screaming.  Central Investigation Bureau sent him to Kanchanpur after releasing him from custody on Sunday.

Bishal’s parents filed a complaint against police at the National Human Rights Commission yesterday. Badri Prasad Bhusal, president of Collective Campaign for Peace, an NGO, that is supporting Bishal in Kathmandu, said police action against Bishal was a sheer violation of human rights as the constitution of Nepal did not allow any kind torture in detention.

Article 22 of the constitution states, “No person in detention shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, or be treated in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner.” Similarly clause 2 of the article states that any violator of the act shall be punishable by law and a victim of such an act shall have the right to compensation as provided for by law.