KATHMANDU, Aug 24: Lawmakers have demanded serious investigations into the murder after the rape of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta, in Kanchanpur district earlier this month. They drew the attention of parliament to the eruption of protests in the district Thursday.
Members of parliament have also come down heavily on the local authorities for suppressing peaceful agitations by locals and challenged the security forces to carry out a fair probe.
NC lawmaker Min Bahadur Biswakarma accused the government of indifference over the incident. “The local authorities didn’t register a complaint from the locals, and the police then booked a mentally challenged person, sowing doubt among the victim’s family. Police have been suppressing the protests by locals who were questioning whether the real culprit had been arrested,” he said.
Another NC lawmaker, Mina Pandey, claimed that the incident was being politicized to hide the main suspect. “A heinous crime is being politicized and we suspect cover-up efforts to shield the main culprit. The government should answer to this issue in the House,” she said.
However, ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker from Kanchanpur, Deepak Prakash Bhatta, accused the locals of trying to distract independent investigations through street protests.
“Protests have erupted and daily life in the district has been affected for the last few days. But the protesters have been declaring the rapist from the street. They have accused the former mayor and also the local police unit chief,” Bhatta said. “An environment has been created to not wait till the conclusion of investigations .”
Insisting that the investigation findings should come out first, he urged the protesters to wait another nine or 10 days for the forensics report. Bhatta demanded a parliamentary probe with senior home ministry and police officials.
NCP lawmakers Maina Kumari Bhandari and Radha Gyawali and NC lawmakers Ram Bahadur Bista and Rangamati Shahi also demanded further probes, accusing the police of failing to find the real culprit.
CDO, SP, DSP recalled, probe formed
Following local agitations and clashes between protesters and police in Kanchanpur, the Home Ministry has recalled the security chiefs of the district. Issuing a statement, the ministry also stated that a probe committee has been formed under the leadership of Joint secretary Hari Prasad Mainali.
Chief District Officer Kumar Khadka, district police chief SP Dilli Raj Bista, and DSP Gyan Bahadur Sethi have been recalled to Kathmandu and replaced.
Meanwhile, the main opposition NC and opposition Rastriya Prajatantra Party have condemned the use of force against the agitated victims and locals of Kanchanpur.