Protesters defy police warning

Kathmandu, December 1

Hundreds of protesters, including social activists, defied police warning and marched from Babarmahal to Baneshwor demanding justice for 13-year old Nirmala Panta, who was raped and murdered in her home district of Kanchanpur on July 26.

They also sought resignation of Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa for failing to nab the culprit(s). Protesters displayed placards and pamphlets that read slogans such as “We found the government but we did not get justice” and “Why is there no justice for  Nirmala?”.

Scores of police personnel, who were guarding the Maitighar-Baneshwor stretch, first tried to stop the protesters from marching ahead but later allowed them to do so. Today’s protest was peaceful.

Activists have criticised the government for its pompous launch of ‘Social Security Scheme’ a few days ago, particularly  Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s statement that the government was  very much present in the country.

Some anonymous groups initiated a campaign in the social media mocking the PM’s statement with the slogan “We found the government but we did not get justice.”

Ujjwal Thapa, co-ordinator of Bibeksheel Sajha Party; Ranju Darsana, youth leader of the same party; and Manushi Yami Bhattarai of Naya Shakti Party-Nepal also participated in today’s protest programme.

Activists were warned by the police over phone not to participate in the protest, but they defied the warning and hit the streets chanting slogans against the government.

Activist Pritam Subedi,  who was among a dozen people, who were arrested yesterday by the police for pasting posters in the streets of Kathmandu demanding justice for Nirmala,  said  police called him said   they had orders from higher ups  not to allow any protest on  the roads.

Police told Subedi that they would arrest him or any protester if they participated in the protest. One police officer told Subedi that it would be in his interest if he did not participate in the protest.

Subedi said the police told them that the government wanted the protesters not to protest because such a protest would earn the country a bad repute internationally as hundreds of foreigners were participating in the Asia Pacific Summit being held in Kathmandu.