Mass rally held in capital demanding justice for Nirmala Panta
KATHMANDU: People from various walks of life took out a peaceful rally in the capital city today under the citizens' initiative #JusticeForNirmala demanding the government to take action against the perpetrator who brutally raped and murdered Nirmala Panta.
The rally, which witnessed participation in hundreds, started from Maitighar Mandala and moved towards New Baneshwar where it ended with a street drama that depicted the pain and horror of rape.
The initiative was carried out in a bid to bring justice to Nirmala along with many other girls and women who have been victims of the crime. Women, men and children carrying placards and banners that read #JusticeForNirmala walked in the rally that started at 12:00 pm.
Nirmala Panta, a 13-year-old girl of Bhimdatta Municipality in Kanchanpur district, had been found at a sugarcane farm murdered after being raped on July 27. The relatives and supporters of the victim have protested the failure of police and government in investigating the murder case.
"This isn't just today's issue, this has been going on for a long time. People have to raise their voices when the government does not act on such cases and fulfill its responsibility. This movement is not carried out by any political party or organisation, but by the people to seek justice." - Hima Bista, activist
"It does not feel like we are living in a democratic and republic nation. No matter who the ruling party is, we should be able to experience freedom of movement. This right of ours must be protected and women should not be treated as second class citizens. Young children are being made targets, due to which they cannot walk freely and neither can senior citizens. Something must be done about this." - Radha Sharma, professor/activist
"Humanity is the most important thing. We have come together to raise a collective voice as informed and aware citizens. To deal with any crime, there is no point being divided into groups, first we are humans and that is our common ground to come together to fight such injustices." - Prakash Lamichhane, journalist/activist
"I participated in the rally today as a citizen. As the father of two young daughters, their safety and rights are important to me, which was the motive for my participation. The rally brought out the collective voice of young people against discrimination and violence against women. I also believe that initiatives like this will help bring such people to book who act as mediators and prevent victims of VAW from getting justice." - Gagan Thapa, politician
"Since the rally is being organised by the citizens, I have come here as a citizen, and as the march is for justice, I have come here seeking justice. Such criminal activities are on a rise and hence it is crucial to carry out effective investigations and bring perpetrators to book which is the government's responsibility. Such kind of initiative will pressurise the government to become alert of such incidents and act on them. In a democratic rule, it is very important to guard the rights of minorities, especially women and children." - Suresh Dhakal, professor, Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University
"Two levels of interventions must be carried out in dealing with cases of rape and sexual violence. First level of intervention must be carried out from government and policy-making level, and second from the level of citizens, like today, which will help every citizen and every family to be aware of such cases of violence." - Rabindra Mishra, politician
"Police administration should be the source of security in a nation. But we are absolutely discouraged after children have become targets. Practices of police domination, lack of justice, mediation, and protection of culprits must come to an end. This initiative, where we can see equal participation of both genders, carries no political interest but an appeal to guard the freedom and security of women and girls, where police have the primary role." - Reshu Aryal, politician/activist
"Even though one month has already passed since the Kanchanpur incident, the government has not taken the investigation seriously, and in order to pressurise the government in taking this seriously, we have organised the rally. Even if one voice is raised, the government has to listen. Here today, so many of us have gathered seeking justice for Nirmala and many other girls and women like her, and I believe that the government will listen to us. And if it doesn't, we must continue the struggle to make our voices heard and to bring justice." - Anbika Giri, activist
"In our society, cases of rape are kept under the surface and actions are not taken against the guilty. There are cases where people who have raised their voices have lost their lives. Government and administration are answerable to its people in cases where the rights and security of women are compromised. The participation of people, including mine, is to pressurise the administration to take action against the guilty." - Kalpana Dhakal, journalist/publicist
"In today's day and age, occurrence of such incidents where a 13-year-old girl is raped and murdered in Kanchanpur and irresponsibility on part of the administration indicate that voices still need to be raised for change. And that is the reason behind my participation in today's rally." - Bivas Neupane, development professional
"Government should have been able to prevent such violence against women and it is hard to understand the display of inability by the government. The citizens, especially girls and women, are unable to feel secure. And for this reason we need to come together and put pressure on the administration as citizens. This is not a political movement and must not be politicised. The citizens must be able to live in freedom. And this won't happen unless the government is active and police impartial." - Rameshwor Shah, advisor, Non Resident Nepalis
"I am here to ensure that the state takes appropriate measures to bring the culprit to book. This is not just about one case, there are multiple cases that occur everyday. We need to keep vigil so that the government does not take such unfortunate cases lightly." - Bishodip Lamichhane, Graphic Designer
"This march is for Nirmala and for many voiceless victims out there who have been deprived of justice. Rallies as such mount pressure on the otherwise negligent authorities to act. This is only one such of a series of movements to come." - Luna Bhattarai, Activist