“They neither let me live nor die”

Published On: May 23, 2023 04:30 PM NPT By: Upendra Lamichhane

KATHMANDU, May 23: "They neither let me live nor die," said Binu Yadav, who has been on a hunger strike for 13 days, sitting on the main road in Maitighar Mandala. Due to her lack of nutrition, she has had to be hooked up to a saline IV.

Surrounded by a few friends as she sleeps, Binu Yadav, who accuses her lover and her father-in-law's younger brother of raping her, opened her eyes after half an hour. "They neither let me die, nor live with dignity," she said, raising her catheterized hand. "When will my desire to live a dignified life be fulfilled?"

In April last year, Binu consumed poison in front of the judge and threatened to starve to death if she did not get justice after the district court ruled on her divorce case. Binu, who had accused her boyfriend Pradeep Kathayat of rape, revealed that she married him only to escape further assault.

Binu is demanding a reinvestigation and prosecution of her "ex-husband" Pradeep Kathayat for the crime of rape. "At that time, despite the death threats coming my way, I was against the divorce," she recounted her harrowing experience. "The court was my last hope. When it ruled in favor of the divorce, I saw no reason to live and drank poison right there."

After the incident, she was taken to the hospital and made to vomit. She spent over three weeks in the ICU. "Life is not just about staying alive," she said. "I want to live a life with justice."

Binu stated that her hunger strike began outside the Supreme Court on May 10. However, she moved to Basantapur after the police arrested her that day and later relocated to Maitighar Mandala.

"They are trying to move me away from here as well," she said. "I will not leave until justice is served." Although a team, including Joint Secretary Jitendra Basnet from the Ministry of Home Affairs, visited her on the 6th and 12th day of the hunger strike, she remained unconvinced.

"They are more concerned about breaking my hunger strike than fulfilling my demands," she said. "I will not end the hunger strike until my demands are addressed." Binu mentioned the difficulties of living with fear, threats, and stress she faces.

Joint Secretary Basnet, who also serves as the spokesperson at the Ministry of Home Affairs, stated that they are in regular contact with the hunger strike and trying to address their demands. "We have spoken with her team at the ministry and the hunger strike site," he said. "However, solving this problem has proven difficult due to her unwillingness to compromise on certain matters." He expressed their willingness to maintain communication and resolve the issue.

Binu’s Main Demands

Binu's main demands include action against DSP Suraj Karki. Her primary demand is an investigation into DSP Karki and others who coerced her into withdrawing a complaint she filed at the Kalimati Police Circle five years ago.

Although the Ministry of Home Affairs is taking the initiative for negotiation, Binu does not believe she will receive justice. "First and foremost, my main demands should be addressed," she said. "Only then can the discussions proceed."

The hunger strike is not Binu's only attempt to fight for justice. In November 2022, she was arrested by the police for protesting at the Supreme Court and throwing red-colored water at the entrance. Likewise, in February 2023, she was arrested in front of the Parliament building for attempting to stage protests in a prohibited area. "I did everything I could to draw attention to my pain," she said. "Now I am forced to live in hunger on the streets of the capital city to lead a dignified life."

The Incident Itself

Binu from Solukhumbu met Pradeep Kathayat from Ramechhap during his stay in Kathmandu around 2074 BS. After a casual acquaintance, they entered into a relationship and had consensual sex with the intention of marriage.

After becoming pregnant, Pradeep refused to marry her and threatened her life. In April 2018, she went to the Kalimati Police Office and filed a complaint about a past rape incident involving Kathayat.

Following her report, Kathayat approached her, promising marriage and a home. Under coercion, she withdrew the complaint and agreed to live as husband and wife.

Their marriage took place in a temple in December 2018, but that's when the violence started. "The marriage was merely a means to avoid the rape accusations," she said. "That was when my fight for justice began." During her stay in Ramechhap, she was held down and forced to have an abortion.

It is alleged that other members of Kathayat's family also attempted to extort her. In October 2019, Pradeep Kathayat filed a divorce case in the Ramechhap District Court after the statute of limitations for the rape case expired.


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