Rights activists doubt genuineness of DNA sample

Kathmandu, November 3

As many as  67 people donated their DNA sample amidst a symbolic protest programme organised by right activists in Kathmandu today, expressing doubts over the authenticity of DNA sample of Nirmala Panta collected by police.

Thirteen-year-old Nirmala of Bhimdatta Municipality, Kanchanpur, was raped and murdered on July 26.

Her body was found in a sugarcane field the following day.

Today’s symbolic protest follows release of police reports earlier, which had showed that the DNA test of the four accused did not match with Nirmala’s.

Kanchanpur police has also collected DNA samples of four additional people from Kanchanpur recently. Police, however, have not disclosed their identities to  ‘protect their privacy and maintain secrecy.’

Activists have now started doubting the genuineness of Nirmala’s ‘vaginal swab’ and whether it remained intact. Activist Chyaban Ghimire said, “We don’t know if Nirmala’s DNA sample was authentic and whether it still remains intact. In this scenario, collection of DNA samples of other suspects simply makes no sense.”

Rights activists demanded that DNA sample of Nirmala be rechecked with the DNA of her parents to determine if it is genuine.

The programme was also supported by leaders and cadres of Bibeksheel Sajha Party and doctors and nurses of various hospital.

Bibeksheel Sajha’s leader Ranju Darshana said, “This a symbolic protest to pressure the government to make the process of DNA testing transparent. Crosschecking the DNA sample with the DNA samples of accused won’t make sense.”

Similarly, Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, said, “The government must not rely only on DNA testing. We don’t know whether Nirmala’s DNA sample was genuine.”

Nepal Police Spokesperson Uttam Raj Subedi said, “Since the high-level probe committee formed by the home minister has not spoken if the Nirmala’s DNA sample is genuine, we have to rely on police investigation.”

The report on rape and murder of Nirmala Panta released by the high level probe committee on October 7, has not mentioned anything about the DNA sample collection procedures, the date and time of the collection, amount of collection, the way to preserve the collection and authenticity of the DNA sample.