Stakeholders engaged in continuous talks to normalise Bhimdatta Municipality

DHANGADHI: In the latest development leading to Nirmala Panta's rape and murder, various stakeholders are holding continuous talks to normalise the situation in Bhimdatta Municipality, today.

According to the Assistant Chief District Officer Shanker Bista, in coordination with the District Administration Office (DAO), all the stakeholders including political parties, members of provincial government and representatives of civil society are holding dialogue to normalise the situation.

"The DAO has requested all the political parties, struggles committees and civil society to support the administration in calming the situation down," Bista added.

He further said, "After all-party and bilateral meetings, all stakeholders have committed to support an ongoing investigation to improve the situation in the area."

"Province 7 state members have arrived at the municipality to study the case and normalise the situation in the area," Bista shared.

Former minister and Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Lekhraj Bhatta also arrived in Kanchanpur on Sunday and visited the victim's family, police and the district administration regarding the incident.

Likewise, human rights activist Goma Acharya opined that all should lend their support in finding the culprit and bring him under the law. "Let's hope the high-level probe committee has begun its investigation from zero and will yield result."

As the situation boiled-over in Bhimdatta Municipality after the incident, the main opposition party Nepali Congress has deputed Central Committee Member Bir Bahadur Balayar and Parliamentarian Dilendra Prasad Badu in Kanchanpur.

Balayar said, "After staying in the district for two days to study the situation, I have directed all the cadres to create conducive environment and support the probe committee to carry out a fair investigation into the case."

He accused the government of destabilising Bhimdatta Municipality after police opened fire at people protesting on street demanding probe into rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta.

Meanwhile, Assistant CDO Bista said, "All the stakeholders have realised that imposing curfew regularly is not practical. Gradually the situation is coming to normalcy."

The DAO had decided to impose curfew from 12:00 noon on Monday, however, it has changed its decision citing improvement in the situation and decided to clamp curfew from 6:00 pm today to 5:00 am tomorrow, according to assistant CDO Bista.

After the brutal rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta, people have been carrying out protests demanding justice for Panta.

The situation boiled-over after the police paraded 41-year-old man as the prime suspect of rape and murder of the victim. Many locals believed that it was a police move to save the actual culprit by dragging him in the case.

Earlier, on August 24, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead and 13 others sustained bullet injuries after police opened fire as they were protesting in front of the DAO seeking justice for Nirmala.