Nirmala Panta’s father in Kathmandu for treatment

Kathmandu, November 25

Visibly tired and fatigued Yagya Raj Panta, father of 13-year-old Nirmala, who was raped and murdered on July 26, arrived in Kathmandu today for medical treatment after he suffered mental disorder in the course of staging an indefinite sit-in demanding justice for his daughter.

Yagya Raj completed a gruelling road journey of over 18 hours to reach Kathmandu from Kanchanpur. He is accompanied by his wife, Durga Devi, two relatives and a health assistant and has been admitted to emergency ward of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital at Maharajgunj.

Yagya Raj was not in a condition to get off the vehicle at the hospital and was pulled out of it by two of his relatives. He was giving a blank stare as his relatives grabbed him by the arm to take him to the emergency ward. Yagya Raj, who was not in a condition to talk, was barefooted and his pants had fallen from the waist.

Yagya Raj was supposed to arrive in the capital yesterday through a Buddha Air flight. But he was not allowed to board the aircraft after airline officials declared that he was not ‘fit to fly’. Yagya Raj was acting violent at the airport yesterday. He was later taken to Seti Zonal Hospital where he was sedated and put in a vehicle to be sent to Kathmandu. He was sedated again mid-way to prevent him from becoming fully conscious.

“All the top doctors of the Department of Psychiatry of TUTH, including the head of the department, Dr Saroj Ojha, are attending Yagya Raj,” said a TUTH source.

It normally takes at least 24 hours to diagnose such cases, according to psychiatrist Vidya Dev Sharma. “Within that time we will come to know whether Yagya Raj is suffering from temporary breakdown or mental illness,” said Sharma, former head of the Psychiatry Department, TUTH.

Activists who launched social media campaigns like #JusticeForNirmala and #RageAgainstRage were also present in the hospital when Yagya Raj was admitted. They asked everyone to respect the privacy of Nirmala’s parents. “No one should use what Nirmala’s family is going through to fulfil vested interest,” said activist Hima Bista, who launched #JusticeForNirmala campaign on social media.

This is Nirmala’s parents second visit to Kathmandu since the rape and subsequent murder of their daughter. Earlier, the Collective Campaign for Peace  had facilitated their stay in Kathmandu. This time no one has assumed that responsibility. “It is the government’s duty to protect them and provide accommodation facility. But if the government is not willing to support the family, we definitely will,” CoCAP Chair BadriSigdel said.

Yagya Raj had started showing unusual behaviour after the first week of an indefinite sit-in protest that had begun from November 11 in front of Kanchanpur District Administration Office. He had only left the place after 14 days of sit-in yesterday. Lately he had started weeping, screaming, scolding.