Nepal | October 23, 2020

Women, human rights activists remain mum in Mahara rape case

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, October 2

Organisations advocating human rights and women rights have remained silent in the Mahara rape case. From among the estimated 400 organisations, including constitutional bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission, National Women Commission advocating the rights of women, none have spoken anything about the rape case.

“We are watching evidences to follow as there has been a twist in the way things are folding. We can’t speak until there is deeper study into the case. We are constantly taking information from the police. We would have spoken if Mahara hadn’t resigned. As the resignation has been tendered and as the events are developing rapidly, we are watching the events,” said Prakash Osti, member of National Human Rights Commission. “We will be issuing our statement by tomorrow,” Osti added.

There are a total of 121 organisations working for human rights but none of them have spoken about the issue yet. “The organisations too are confused in this case as changes are taking place one after the other,” said Osti.

National Women Commission, a constitutional body that works for gender equality and women empowerment to strengthen the rules and regulations so as to minimise social malpractices against women and promote women rights, too has remained silent in the case.

“As there is no commissioner at present in the commission we can’t say anything. But we can proceed if the victim comes and files an application about the violence,” said Deependra Kafle, secretary at the National Women Commission.

Renu Adhikari, founder and chairperson of Women’s Rehabilitation Centre, said “I cannot fight alone. It should be a collective effort. As none of the women rights activists and organisations have collectively raised their voices on this issue, there is nothing I can do,” she said.

The Ministry of Women Children and Senior Citizens, which has a provision for rehabilitating victims of violence, has not yet taken any initiative to rehabilitate the victim. “The victim has neither demanded any medical help nor sought rehabilitation,” said Rudra Sharma, joint secretary at the ministry.

However, Women Security Pressure Group, group of women fighting for women rights, has demanded for fair investigation in the Mahara rape case. “Resignation is not sufficient in this case, a fair investigation should be carried out as it is done with civilians and gender-sensitive fair investigation should be conducted. We have demanded an investigative probe committee to be formed with a woman expert in the team,” said one of the members of the group on condition of anonymity.

A version of this article appears in print on October 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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