Kathmandu, January 14
A five-member high level investigation commission comprising experts submitted its report on the rape and murder of 13-year old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur to the National Human Rights Commission yesterday, but the findings will most likely remain under wraps as the NHRC plans to release only its contents.
Around a month ago, The NHRC had formed the commission to investigate the July 26 rape and murder of Nirmala under the coordination of former deputy attorney Narendra Prasad Pathak .
NHRC Commissioner Mohana Ansari told The Himalayan Times that although the report would be made public soon,only the contents would be made public. In other words, only a ‘summary ‘ of the report would be released. When asked why the NHRC would not make public the report ‘as it is’ Ansari said, “Many times we have to save persons who are quoted in the report as evidence. We also have to make sure the victims will remain safe. This cannot be promised as the victims could have said things the people, would not like to hear.”
According to a source, the report has raised questions on police investigation. It has also suggested a new direction for the police to continue investigation. Similarly, it has also suggested that the DNA test should not be ultimate investigative tool to find culprits.
Bed Prasad Bhattarai, secretary of NHRC, told THT, “We will first submit suggestions to the government about the findings of the report and later make it public.”
Other member of the Investigation team comprise former additional inspector general of police Bigyan Raj Sharma, forensic expert Harihar Wosti, DNA expert Dinesh Jha and NHRC Dhangadi province office head Jhankar Bahadur Rawal.
The NHRC had launched investigation into Nirmala’s rape and murder barely one week after the incident, but it is yet to come up with a report. Some stakeholders and rights activists had raised serious questions on the ‘competence and autonomy’ of the constitutional body in relation to its reluctance to make the report public.
Commissioner of NHRC Mohana Ansari who was also a member of the investigation team, however, said in defense that they did not make the report public since it was immature and they had a couple of unanswered question in the report.
Nirmala had gone missing after visiting her classmate Aachal Bam, aka Roshani on July 26. Her body was found in a sugarcane field with the lower half submerged in water on July 27.
A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.