Guilty yet to be booked

  • More than twenty investigation teams are engaged but the outcome of the probe continues to be nil even two weeks after the incident

Dhangadi, August 11

Two weeks after 13-year-old Nirmala Pant was raped and murdered at Bhimdutta Municipality, Kanchanpur, police are yet to book the guilty.

Pant, a ninth grader at the local Saraswoti Higher Secondary School, went missing on July 27. She was found dead in a sugarcane field of Nimbukheda in Bhimdutta the next day.

Protests have continued every day in Mahendranagar since the body was found. Irate women accused the police of trying to shield the guilty. They suspect an individual with powerful political links is involved.

Nirmala’s uncle Bhojraj Pant said, “Police failure to find the culprits even after two weeks has raised doubts regarding the investigation.”

National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders Chairperson RenuAdhikariRajbhandari said failure to book the guilty was enough ground for suspicion. “Why have police failed to arrest the guilty though 16 days have passed since the incident? “ she asked.

District Police Office Kanchanpur Spokesperson DSP GayanBahadurSethi admitted the probe had not unearthed anything. “The outcome is nil. More than 20 investigation teams are engaged, but the outcome is almost zero.” A police team led by DSP Ekendra Khadka has also been deployed. “Another team of Province 7 crime investigators has been deployed,” Sethi stated. A team from the Central Investigation Bureau led by DSP Angur GC has been in Kanchanpur since July 30. Other teams, including the province Police Office’s regional investigation group, are active.

The post-mortem report showed Nirmala was murdered after rape. It’s not clear whether she was killed in the sugarcane field or her body was dumped there after her murder somewhere else. “The place where the body was found had a lot of water which posed a problem in the probe,” Sethi said. He added that protests had made it hard to investigate. “A large number of police personnel have to be deployed to control protesters, causing manpower crunch for the probe,” he said.

Three girls were raped in Province 7 in the last three months.  Maya BK, 11 of Gauriganga Municipality was gang-raped and murdered in Kailali on June 25. Likewise, Kabita Bista , 17 of Shantipur, Krishnanagar Municipality, Kanchnapur was murdered after rape on July 1. The culprits in these incidents were, however, arrested.