KATHMANDU, Aug 24: As protesters in Kanchanpur continue to demand the true culprit behind the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta, 13, be arrested, Twitter users have also urged for the same. As a result, #JusticeForNirmala has trended on the social media platform.
On the social media site, users have not just sought justice for Nirmala, but also for many 'Nirmalas' and their families. Nirmala was found murdered after being raped in a sugarcane field on July 27. On August 20 the District Police Office arrested mentally-ill Dilip Singh Bista, who confessed of murdering Panta. Residents as well as the parents, however, have accused the police of making Bista an escape goat to hide the real culprit.
As a result, there has been frequent clashes between the protesters and the police. Yesterday, six civilians and two police were injured as the security force fired bullets and over 150 teargas shells against demonstrators outside the District Administration Office.
To contain the situation, the DAO clamped a 12 hour curfew which was lifted at 6 AM today.
Mohna Ansari, commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission said that "When a crime report is stamped rape, it becomes an urgent matter for the department. #JusticeforNirmala." Others, on the other hand, have expressed concerns on state's security and its priorities to curb rape incidents, despite its increase.
"It is tragic, appalling, scary and disappointing that #Rape cases are on rise and the State has not been able to provide sense of security to girls and women in #Nepal case of #Nirmala is an example of a failing State #JusticeforNirmala #RageAgainstRape," Hima Bista said while another user, Suraj Air urged the prime minister KP Sharma Oli to have clear priorities: " Dear Prime Minister, @kpsharmaoli Trains can wait. Ships can wait. But Justice cannot. Your people need your help right now. Thank you."
Another user, Aashika Pokhrel pondered upon why high profiles have deafeningly been silent on rape. "Why are the high profiles deafeningly silent on rape? When will rape begin to be seen as heinous? Until it happens to one of their own? #justicefornirmala"
Other users have expressed the need to raise their voices against such heinous crime, "epidemics of the modern society," according to Tony M. Election Commissioner, Ila Sharma urged all to "maintain vigil for #JusticeForNirmala and #RageAgainstRape".
"We live in a country where a person is arrested for his face book post, while a rapist walks freely. And when we people protest against it, either we are labeled as anti-national or we get hammered by rubber bullets. WOW!!! #JusticeForNirmala #RageAgainstRape" Sushil Subedi said.
On an average, four rapes have been reported every day and 120 every month in the fiscal year 2074/75 BS, according to a data released by the Nepal Police. That's 1,480 rape cases a year.