KATHMANDU, Dec 5: Neha Chaudhary, a dowry victim who has been awaiting justice for a year, has knocked on the doors of Durga Prasai, a medical practitioner and political activist, for help in her pursuit of justice.
Dowry victim Chaudhary met with Durga Prasai and appealed to him for assistance in seeking justice. Durga Prasai, who recently staged a demonstration in Kathmandu challenging the actions of Nepali political leaders leading Nagarik Bachau Mahaabhiyan, listened to her grievances and pledged to provide her justice in every possible way.
Neha, a resident of Mahottari, fell in love with Pankaj Chaudhary and married him on March 9, 2022. However, four months into their marriage, Pankaj started to treat Neha giving her physical and mental torture. Neha accused her husband Pankaj of beating and abusing her which seems to be an apparent case of dowry-related violence.
Neha informed Prasai about her husband and his family members beginning abusing her within a few days after her marriage. Neha said, “Our’s was a love marriage which was conducted observing the social rituals and traditions. My maternal home is in Aurahi, Mahottari, and my husband’s home is in Ramgopalpur, Mahottari. Only a few days after the wedding, my husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law (husband’s sister) began abusing me at home.”
Neha said that about Rs 12.5 million was spent on furniture, 20 tolas of gold, and cash, among other items, as per her in-laws’ wish. Similarly, she said that her husband repeatedly asked her to buy a house in Kathmandu. “My husband started beating me as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law easily influenced him. Due to this, I received severe stomach injuries and I bled while urinating,” said Neha.
She expressed her disappointment with the legal system, stating, “I waited for a year, having faith in the law, but justice was not served. Pankaj and his family, living peacefully in India, have made my life a living hell. Pankaj is working at a hospital in Sitamarhi, India, and his brother-in-law frequently visits my home, threatening me to withdraw the case. In such situations, I have to hide myself and there is no security provided to me.”
“In search of justice, I have approached local representatives, top leaders, including the then home minister and the Chairman of Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Rabi Lamichhane, seeking their help, but they only provided consolation,” Neha stated, “No one helped me and I haven’t yet received justice. Frustrated with the lack of progress, I met Durga Prasai, trusting that he would help me receive justice as he is actively working to serve those in need.”
Listening to Neha's grievances, Prasai vowed to her, mentioning, “You are like my daughter. I am saddened to hear about the incident that happened to you. I will ensure justice is served.”
Neha also added, “Without informing me and my lawyer, bail was granted to Pankaj, and the legal proceedings have been delayed.” Despite having ample evidence, including photos of injuries and bank statements documenting dowry transfers, Neha said that the judicial system has been dilly-dallying to provide justice complaining about insufficient valid documents.
Rinku Yadav, Neha Chaudhary's lawyer, stated, “Witness examination is scheduled for January 12, and the hearing on the case is expected to be scheduled accordingly. The delay in examining evidence-based documents has hampered the justice process.”
Radhika Bishwakarma, a member of Nagarik Bachau Mahaabhiyan, said that the true essence of the campaign would begin after providing justice to dowry victim Chaudhary. She added, “Preparations are being made for a team to travel to Mahottari to hold talks with both victim and offender parties to speed up giving justice to Chaudhary.”