Kathmandu, December 8

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokhrel today said the government had identified and arrested the perpetrator(s) of Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder.

Minister Pokhrel revealed this at an interaction on human rights at Nepal Administrative Staff College. He said the government would soon make the perpetrator(s) public.

Pokhrel’s revelation comes at a time when police have arrested Bhimdutta Municipality resident Pradip Rawal in connection with 13-year-old Nirmala’s rape and murder.

Police have recently been claiming significant headway in the case.

DPM Pokhrel warned political leaders not to protect the guilty.  “Nobody should try to play politics over this issue,” he added.

Spokesperson for Nepal Police Headquarters SSP Uttam Raj Subedi told THT that police had narrowed down the investigation. “We are investigating the case and we will bring the results of the

investigation to the public within a few days,” he said, adding that the exact date when the investigation would be completed could not be predicted.

Police had tested the DNA samples of nine people but none of them matched the evidence collected from Nirmala’s vaginal swab.

Police, are now investigating 19-year-old Pradip Rawal, a permanent resident of Bhimdatta Municipality.

When asked if police had sent a sample of Rawal’s DNA to the forensic lab, SSP Subedi said, “We have taken the DNA samples of all the suspects.”

Meanwhile, a mass symbolic rally was organised today in Kathmandu, demanding that the culprit(s) be arrest edand punished.

Members of civil society and the general public participated in the protest demanding justice for Nirmala.

Hundreds of protesters marched from Maitighar Mandala to New Baneshwor, chanting slogans.

The protesters carried placards with slogans that read ‘We found the government, but we did not get  justice’ and ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’

Protesters also demanded the resignation of Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa.