94 days and counting for justice

Published On: October 28, 2018 02:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

It has been 94 days since Nirmala Pant was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur. Since then the whole nation has been demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice. However, after more than three months and seven different teams of investigators from Nepal Police, no one has been arrested in the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta. This is deeply embarrassing and emblematic of the way our system works.

Citing that they had shown gross negligence in handling the Nirmala case, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoH) sacked then Kanchanpur district police chief Dilli Raj Bista and Inspector Jagdish Prasad Bhatta on Thursday. However, this is not the end of the story. The case has moved nowhere and the police cannot seem to find a clue about the rape and murder case. Despite prime minister and home minister’s repeated pledge for justice, hope for a proper closure of the case is fading by the day. SP Durga Singh’s team is still on the ground in Kanchanpur investigating the case. It is too early to comment about Singh’s investigation, but there is very little hope for justice. 

Nirmala’s is a perfect example of the state of our affairs. The government and our police system are struggling to provide explanations to multiple lapses in the investigation and in handling of the case. The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB)’s DSP Angur GC insists that Dilip Singh Bista is the culprit. Bista was later released when his DNA did not match the DNA found in Nirmala’s vagina. In between, there have been competing arguments and theories proposed. But none point to Nirmala’s rapist and killer. 

It is rather sad and painful to see that people have to wage nation-wide protests to demand fair and thorough investigation of Nirmala’s case. Hundreds of Nirmalas become victims of heinous rape and murder every year in the country. And very few of such cases make headlines in national dailies over an extended period of time. Families and loved ones sometimes wait forever in the hope of justice. A democratic society should not suffocate its citizen from due processes if it wants the people to believe in law and order. 
We have, in this space before, demanded swift action against those involved in Nirmala’s rape and murder. We will continue to demand the truth about her tragic murder and we will continue to raise the issue until the guilty are brought to justice.

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