Father of Dilip Bista, who was allegedly arrested by police on charge of killing Nirmala Panta. Photo: Republica
KANCHANPUR, Aug 22: Police on Monday arrested Dilip Bista of Bhimdatta Municipality-19 on the charge of raping and murdering 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Bhimdatta Municipality-18 a few weeks ago. However, locals and the family members have accused the police and the local authorities of framing an innocent person with an ill intention of protecting the real perpetrator.
“Please save an innocent from being punished. There is no one to speak for him,” said Shanta Subedi, one of the neighbors of Dilip, adding, “Police made an innocent person a scapegoat as he won’t be able to speak for himself.” However, she is not the only one who is disappointed with his arrest, as almost the whole village seems disgruntled by the move of police.
“It is hard for us to believe that a person who couldn’t even dare to go in front of girls committed such a heinous crime,” said Laxmidevi Bista, another neighbor. According to her, it is nothing more than a dirty tactics of police for protecting the culprit.
Dilip’s father Kamal Singh Bista, 82, seemed worried over his son’s arrest. “My son is mentally ill. He can do no wrong to others,” said Kamal, who was seen outside the police station on Tuesday. According to him, Dilip was an extremely talented student as a child. However, he started struggling with mental illness after being beaten by a teacher in the ninth grade. He took him to India and spent Rs 600,000 for his treatment but to no avail.
“Taking advantage of his illness, they put a wrong accusation on my son to hide the real culprit,” he lamented.
Contradicting what police said during a press conference, locals stated that he never misbehaved with girls and women by showing his private organs or teasing them. Surprisingly, even the locals of Nirmala’s village do not think Dilip is the actual perpetrator.
Police recovered Nirmala’s body from a sugarcane field. Police could not retrieve evidence from the incident site as there was water around her. Mahesh Upreti, a school friend of Dilip, speculates that the victim must have been raped in a room and later thrown in the field. “It is not possible rape somebody in the middle of water,” said Upreti, adding, “The perpetrator must be powerful enough to influence the police.”
Venting their ire against police, the locals staged protests in various parts of Mahendranagar on Tuesday. Protester even clashed with security personnel while trying to enter the District Administration Office. The clash, which started at 12 pm, continued until 6 pm. As many as 13 people from both sides sustained minor injuries during the clash. Police fired 30 shells of tear gas to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, a relay sit-in has been staged in front of the DAO since the last three days demanding justice for the victim.