Artists perform a stage drama at New Baneswar, Kathmandu on Saturday during a protest against the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta. Photo: Bijay Gajmer/Republica
KANCHANPUR, Dec 9: Police officials have claimed that they are close to solving the case of rape and murder of Nirmala Panta in Kanchanpur following the arrest of two suspects -- Pradeep Rawal and Bishal Chaudhary.
However, some people suspect that police might possibly be trying to frame the poor and innocent like before.
Given the fact that police made conscious efforts to destroy evidences after finding Nirmala’s body, the victim’s relatives and neighbors suspect that the perpetrator(s) could be from a rich and highly influential family.
Previously, police had arrested Dilip Singh Bista, 41, from a poor family and coerced him into admitting to the crime. They also produced a video showing Bista, a mentally challenged person, admitting to the crime.
Later, locals protested against the police of framing the innocent, which eventually proved right. They later released him due to lack of evidence.
The arrestee Rawal and Chaudhary both are from extremely poor family. They both had dropped out of school due to weak financial status. Prior to the arrest, Chaudhary, 17, of Bhimdatta-18, used to work as a daily wage laborer. His mother Salmati said, “My son should not face injustice just because we are poor.”
Likewise, Rawal’s father Krishna Bahadur Rawal said his son should be punished only if he is proven guilty. “He should be punished if he is guilty. Otherwise, he should not be framed taking advantage of being poor.”
Niramala, 13, of Bhimdatta had gone to her friend Roshani Bam’s house to study on July 26. She disappeared that day and her body was found in a nearby sugarcane field the next day.
Locals have continued their protest seeking justice for Nirmala. Meena Bhandari, coordinator of the struggle committee formed for justice, said their protest will continue until the perpetrator(s) are booked.
“It is fine to punish them if they are guilty. But if not, police should stop trying to make innocent people from poor financial background their target,” said Bhandari.