EDITORIAL: Learn the motive

A thorough probe will not only provide solace to the bereaved family but also help society to better tackle such risks in the future

The gruesome murder of a housewife in the heart of Kathmandu city has shaken the society, with the crime engaging the attention of both the media and the people. Muna Adhikari Karki, 49, wife of a former government secretary, succumbed to strangulation, allegedly by the family’s domestic help, on Monday. The perpetrator of the crime might have remained a mystery at least for sometime were it not for the CCTV footage that showed the domestic help, Bijay Chaudhary, 22, dragging Muna from behind while she was working in the kitchen. However, there is nothing the police or the family can do to Chaudhary as he has committed suicide by hanging himself from the balcony railing on the first floor of the house. The police are investigating the case to put pieces of evidence together. But in a case like this, where the perpetrator of the crime has more or less been established, the normal tendency of the investigating body is to close the chapter as there is no one to bring to book for the crime committed. This, however, should not happen. The police have the obligation to explain what could have been the motive for committing the grisly murder in Sanepa, Lalitpur.

In a way, parallels could be drawn between the above incident and another gruesome murder of former Nepali ambassador to France Keshav Jha, who was stabbed to death by his domestic help at his residence in August 2018. The culprit was arrested a year after the incident and is serving a jail sentence. Crimes are not committed without a motive, and it is always good to know the factor that triggered them. In the Sanepa case, why did Chaudhary, who had worked there for years and was well trusted by family members, do what he did? Was the crime committed in a fit of pique? Preliminary investigation has not ruled out sexual assault as the motive, though. So did he show any symptoms of bad behaviour that might have aroused suspicion in the family? Surprisingly, Chau-dhary did not attempt to flee after committing the murder and instead chose to end his life, apparently understanding fully well what fate lay ahead for him.

Nepal is seeing violent and often bizarre crimes in society, both in the urban and rural areas, in recent times. What possibly could be fueling these crimes in the country? According to the police the strongest evidence gathered so far is the CCTV footage. The police should leave no stone unturned to get the bottom of facts and esblish the motive behind the gruesome killing. The ongoing investigation should be thorough, conclusive and back by coinvincing arguments. Our society is in a state of flux, and it is in this context that we need to know where our society is heading. While our heartfelt sympathies lie with the Karki family, it must cooperate fully with the police to bring out the motive behind the murder in a crediable manner. It also becomes extremely important to establish why the domestic helping in question choose to kill himself after strangulating her. The police should leave no stone unturned to establish the facts. A thorough investigation will not only

provide solace to the bereaved family but also provide lessons for the society in better tackling such risks in the future.

Focus on a major road

Construction of three strategic roads connecting Jajarkot with Jumla has been in limbo for the last 12 years due to lack of funds. There is no guarantee when these roads will be completed as the federal government has stopped allocating funds for their construction. The Jajarkot Khalanga-Panchkatiya-Paik-Byaulidhunga-Jumla road is 80-km-long. But only a 40-km track has been opened till date after spending Rs 600 million on it. Only 35 kilometres of track have been opened for the 90-km-long Jajarkot-Chheda-Chande-Jumla road after spending Rs 300 million. Likewise, only a 30-km track has been opened on the 140-km-long Jajarkot-Barekot-Chakhure-Jumla road using Rs 20 million.

In total, Rs 920 million has already been spent on the three roads. Once these roads are completed, the distance between Jumla and Nepalgunj will be shorter than the Karnali Highway. The construction of these roads was further delayed after the central government handed them over to Karnali province without giving it enough resources. Had the government spent the total fund on one major road project, it would have been completed on time, greatly benefitting the local communities. The policymakers must be held accountable for leaving the road in limbo.