Police clueless about three bodies found during lockdown

Kathmandu, April 20

On the seventh day of the nationwide lockdown (March 30), Bhaktapur Police pulled out a headless body of a woman stuffed inside a jute sack from the Hanumante River at Gatthagar after locals informed them.

Almost three weeks later, police have neither been able to find the head of the woman, nor identify the brutally killed victim.

Upon reaching the site, at around 3:00 pm, police had deployed several personnel along the banks of the river to search for the missing head.

Photos acquired by The Himalayan Times show that the woman in blue leggings had her left hand chopped off and there was a deep cut on the hip. Her headless body was covered in a red top she was wearing and there were visible marks of ‘animals tearing the flesh’.

The condition of the body led police to the conclusion that the body must have been dumped there a few days ago, during the lockdown.

Police suspect that since no one in the area had reported any missing woman, the body might have been transported in a vehicle and dumped in the river. But, as a nationwide lockdown had been imposed, very few vehicles were plying the road and police could easily access information about unauthorized vehicles.

However, they have not been able to gather any information regarding the case yet.

Head of Bhaktapur Metropolitan Police Range Superintendent of Police Sabin Pradhan said they have circulated the features of the woman to all police units across the country, but there has been no breakthrough yet.

A few days ago, on April 16, Bhaktapur Police again found the body of a woman in her mid- 30s hanging from a tree at Telkot of the same district. Police suspect she was murdered, but even her identity has not been ascertained yet. This is making it hard for police to find a possible suspect in the case.

In a case similar to that at Hanumante River, police, after being informed by locals, recovered the body of a man wearing blue jeans inside a large hume pipe at Guheshwori, a few hundred metres away from the Bagmati River yesterday. The torso of the man in his early 40s, including his head, had decayed.

The body appeared to have been dumped there eight to 10 days ago, according to police.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range said there were clear signs that he was murdered. “The head of the deceased had been eaten by insects while his lower body is still intact. His legs were inside a sack.”

As in the previous cases, police are likely to face a hard time finding the culprit since they have not yet been able to ascertain the man’s identity.

“We have come to know that some people used to live around the area, including inside hume pipes, but because of the lockdown, the hume pipes no longer shelter them. People living together might have killed him in a drunken state or out of sudden anger,” DSP Bogati said.

Police record shows that overall crime rate inside Kathmandu valley has decreased by over 85 per cent after the nationwide lockdown was enforced. But, police also say the lockdown could have assisted the murders.

Senior Superintendent of Police Shyam Lal Gyawali, spokesperson of Ranipokhari Metropolitan Police Office, said since there was less movement of people during the lockdown, the perpetrator could have escaped from the crime scene. “But, once we ascertain the identity of the deceased and people related to them, it will not be difficult to find the culprit/s.”