The number of girls and women joining protest programmes in the capital calling for end to violence and discrimination against women is increasing.

Today, hundreds of social activists and people from different walks of life rallied in Kathmandu demanding that the culprit(s) in Bhagirathi Bhatta's rape and subsequent murder case in Baitadi be brought to justice at the earliest.

Bhatta was raped and murdered days ago and police have not been able to make any breakthrough in the case.

The protest programme led by students of Padmakanya Campus was joined by hundreds of male supporters. Young activists organised a candlelight vigil and staged a symbolic final rites ceremony of Bhagirathi.

Bhagirathi's final rites have not been performed as her parents have refused to receive the body. The rally later converged into a mass meet at Bhrikuti Mandap.

People participating in the protest rally chanted slogans and displayed placards with slogans such as 'Am I the next?' 'We are empowered women, and we will speak up,' 'How long shall we carry death in our vagina?', 'How long will women be treated as second class citizens?' and so on.

Meanwhile, the activists are also protesting against a proposed law that will require women under 40 to get the consent of their family and local leaders to travel abroad, especially to the Middle East and Africa.

The government has already clarified that the law is aimed at curbing women trafficking. But women activists have vehemently criticised the law terming it discriminatory.

Hundreds of people had joined a protest rally in the heart of the capital city chanting slogans demanding equality yesterday as well.

The protesters yesterday had tried to march to the Prime Minister's Office but were blocked by riot police and barbed wire barricades.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.