Nepal | March 30, 2020

Eight underage girls raped in two months

Family members, acquaintances involved

Damodar Bhandari

Nepalgunj, September 17

On August 31, news flashed about a man in his late seventies sexually abusing his grandchild for the past three years in Banke’s Kohalpur. Soon after the news broke, Area Police Office, Kohalpur, rushed to detain the culprit. Now, police are investigating the case by acquiring an investigation date of a fortnight from the district court.

Area Police Office Kohalpur Chief DSP Ramesh Bahadur Singh said they were shocked by the news. “We’re recording the girl’s statement now,” said the DSP.

According to locals, the girl lives with her grandparents. Preyed upon by her own grandfather, the traumatized 13-year-old dropped out of school.

The incident galvanized protest which lasted for a few days. Women leaders and rights activists involved in the protest sought stern punishment for the rapist. This, however, wasn’t the first case when young girls had fallen prey to their own family members, as about a month before that, there were two separate incidents in Chappargaudi, Kohalpur Municipality, where men abused their own daughters. Before that, yet another girl was raped by her own father in Baijanath Rural Municipality in December last year.

To talk about the cases perpetrated by acquaintances, the latest in the district was reported in the first week of this month about a trader of medicinal herbs who had victimised a fifteen-year-old girl in Dewafulbari of Nepalgunj.

As learnt, the 46-year-old self-styled exorcist named Saibaba had raped the girl for the past three months. Making the first sexual advances on the assurance that he would treat her with his healing power, he had managed to exploit her regularly by serving her with threats thereafter.

Abused for months, the girl couldn’t disclose the exploitation until she suffered profuse bleeding in her groins. She revealed that the so-called witch doctor had administered her drugs to terminate the perceived pregnancy after the girls monthly cycle stopped.

The girl’s kin then lodged an FIR against the man with the district police office. According to inspector Rana Bahadur Bista, in charge of case department at the district police office, the man is in police custody and investigation is under way.

Though there are many cases when girls are raped by someone from their own family and acquaintances, there is a common trend of trying to hide these cases. “Most of such cases are never flashed owing to the false belief that making such cases public would ruin the future of the girls concerned, or that justice in such cases is always elusive and expensive,” observed INSEC regional chief Bhola Mahat.

As per data with the police, a total of eight cases of rape against underage girls have been filed with them in Banke in the past two months. Regarding the increasing rape cases, National Human Rights Commission Nepalgunj Chief Chandrakanta Chapagain sought serious attention on the part of the stakeholders. “Rape is a serious breach of human rights and there is a body responsible for bringing to book the culprits,” he said.

 


A version of this article appears in print on September 18, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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