Kathmandu, September 23
A report made public by the National Human Rights Commission today revealed that a total of 1,313 rape cases were filed in the first seven months of fiscal 2018-19 from July 17 to February 15.
The report titled ‘Human Rights of Rape Victims and Police Accountability to their Access to Justice’ also revealed that of the total rape accused in the these cases, 152 (approximately 12 per cent) were still at large.
According to the report, a total of 273 rape cases were filed with police in Province 1, 169 cases in Province 2, 280 in Province 3, 90 in Gandaki Province, 180 in Province 5, 65 in Karnali Province and 65 in Sudurpaschim Province.
In Province 1, eight per cent rape-accused are absconding, in Province 2, 22 per cent are at large, 13 per cent rape-accused are at large in Province 3, 10 per cent in Gandaki Province, 15 per cent in Province 5, 19 per cent in Karnali Province and 2 per cent in Sudurpaschim Province.
The report also shows that of the total rape accused produced in the court, 22 were released on general date.
Making the report public, Anup Raj Sharma, chairperson of NHRC, said that people in the country were still reluctant to file rape cases with police. “Police should work hard to win people’s trust and make them feel free to seek police help,” he said.
Sharma also said that of late, Nepal Police had lost people’s trust due to failure to bring to book the culprits in rape cases and also due to some police personnel’s alleged involvement in botching up investigation. He also said the reputation of Nepal Police had been spoiled due to increasing irregularities and anomalies in the organisation.
However, refuting the allegations, Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal said Nepal police had been able to win the trust of a large number of people across the country through various drives and programmes such as Public-Police Partnership Programme. IGP Khanal also claimed that police had been successful in nabbing more rape accused in recent years. “We have 97 per cent success rate in nabbing the rape-accused,” he said.
It is important to note that the IGP’s statement contrasts with the NHRC report which was prepared on the basis of inputs given by Nepal Police itself.
Mohna Ansari, member of the NHRC, said police were not women-friendly and sensitive while registering rape cases, which had forced many rape victims and their families to remain silent and reconcile with the perpetrators.
“Justice to rape victims will be possible if women-friendly environment is ensured,” she said adding that police must learn to respect the privacy of rape victims while conducting investigation.
A version of this article appears in print on September 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.