Published On: February 7, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Sara Pahari
KATHMANDU, Feb 7: “Hello! Am I talking to Niharika Rajput?”
“This is Shivaraj Shrestha speaking; Niharika is busy selecting outfits for our wedding!”
Yes, Niharika Rajput, an unmarried teen mother, who has a son following a ‘rape’ incident, is all set to tie the knot with Shivaraj Shrestha, her ‘rapist’.
Shrestha of Janakpur was accused of drugging and raping her when she was a minor of 17 years. She later gave birth to a son.
Rajput had filed a case at the Dhanusha District Court on March 2, 2020, after she was allegedly raped by Shrestha on October 29, 2019. She gave birth to a baby boy on August 21, 2020.
On Feburary 7, 2022 a single bench of Judge Parashuram Bhattarai of the District Court, Dhanusha, issued a verdict, acquitting Shivaraj stating that Niharika had not been raped.
Accused Shrestha was released from prison after the district court’s verdict. On the other hand, Niharika started a hunger strike on the court premises saying that she had been unfairly treated by the verdict.
In June, Rajput staged a fast-unto-death in Kathmandu before she was asked to end it by the authorities, assuring to meet her demand.
In August, Rajput tried self-immolation in front of the President’s Office, putting pressure on the authorities to move forward with her case and made a five point demand in which a DNA test of her son and accused Shrestha was one.
According to the Janakpur High Court, the DNA samples of Niharika Rajput’s son and Shivaraj Shrestha, the man Rajput has accused of repeatedly raping and impregnating her, have matched.
A test conducted by the National Forensic Science Laboratory confirmed the child to be Shrestha’s son. The lab recently sent the test report to the Janakpur High Court that is hearing the rape charge against Shrestha, said the court’s registrar Khadga Raj Adhikari. Although, Rajput and Shrestha signed a reconciliation agreement in presence of district judge Brajesh Pyakurel last Tuesday, a rape charge filed against Shrestha is still pending at the high court.
Shrestha was on his way to Biratnagar when he saw an incoming Whatsapp video call that was about to change three lives.
The video call was from Viaan, Niharika’s son whose DNA matched Shrestha’s.
“Niharika and I had been out of contact for the last 3-4 years,” said Shrestha, “My number was saved as ‘Aparadhi’ (criminal) on Niharika’s Whatsapp. My son called me by mistake, perhaps, while he was playing games on the mobile phone. I couldn’t identify the phone number because I had blocked/unblocked the number several times before. My heart melted seeing my son on the video call and that was the moment I realized all my wrongdoings.” “Later, Niharika was enraged because she thought I was the one who had called and warned me to stay away from our child.”
According to Shrestha, District Court, Dhanusha had given them one month time to solve the issue, but he couldn’t accept Niharika and her son because he was a teenager of 18-19 years and the court would call it a ‘child marriage’. According to him, he tried meeting Niharika to sort things out. “If we could talk at that time, things wouldn’t have gotten this worse, but she was enraged at that time and staged a strike saying that she was unfairly treated by the verdict. I was brainwashed by people close to me into sitting quietly when the whole nation was against me.”
But after the Whatsapp video call, Shrestha and Rajput started talking about where they had both gone wrong in their relationship and started it fresh.
The two signed a reconciliation agreement in presence of Dhanusha District Judge Brajesh Pyakurel on Tuesday.
As per the agreement, Shrestha has agreed to accept Rajput as his wife and the child and his child and take care of them.
Shrestha had been denying the rape charge for a long time. However, he accepted Rajput as his wife after Niharika’s son’s DNA matched his.
The Dhanusha District Court reconciled single mother Niharika Rajput and her alleged rapist Shivaraj Shrestha as a married couple.
Although, Rajput and Shrestha signed a reconciliation agreement in presence of District Judge Brajesh Pyakurel on Tuesday, a rape charge filed against Shrestha is still pending at the high court. “Janakpur High Court’s hearing is on 8th February. After that, Niharika and I will get married in Janaki Temple on 10th February, Friday, two days after the court's hearing,” said Shrestha.
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