Fear looms the fate of Nirmala Pant case might recur

Gajendra Basnet

February 13, 2021


Fear looms the fate of Nirmala Pant case might recur

KATHMANDU: It has been more than a week now since 17-year-old Bhagarathi Bhatta of Dogadakedar-7 of far western Baitadi was found dead near her school and the police post. The postmortem reports have revealed that she was murdered after being raped.

Although the police have claimed that the investigation is underway from different angles, people are turning skeptical about the claims as the concrete results have not come yet.

The police claim that the scope of the investigation is getting narrower, it is not clear who was involved in the crime.

It has been more than two and half years since Nirmala Pant, 13, of Kanchanpur in the far west, was raped and murdered.

People fear Bhagarathi’s murder case might also face Nirmala’s fate in Baitadi without arresting the culprits of this incident.

Comprehensive research

After the issue got public attention, DIG Uttam Raj Subedi, the Chief of Sudurpashim Province Police rushed to the spot to investigate the incident. DIG Subedi who reached the site on February 5 said that the police have taken the incident of the girl’s murder seriously.

“We are conducting a comprehensive investigation by adopting all possible procedures in a comprehensive manner, the suspects are being minutely observed as well,” DIG Subedi told Khabarhub and added, “there is nothing concrete to give to the media yet.”

According to him, a team led by SSP Janak Raj Pandey from the Federal Police Unit Office, Kailali is also investigating the incident.

Besides, a team including SSP Mukesh Singh of the Federal Police Office, Dhangadhi have also reached the spot with trained dogs.

The police have already questioned those who were walking in the area that day. It has also investigated the vehicles and passengers on the Khochlek-Chadepani road section on February 3 and 4.

According to DIG Subedi, the Police have recovered the mobile phone Bhagarathi had been using.

“Investigations are underway to increase surveillance on the suspects,” he said, “we will bring out the facts of the incident in a few days.”

Confirmation of Rape and Murder

According to the post-mortem report submitted by District Police Office Baitadi to the District Police Office, Bhagarathi was raped and killed.

DSP Narayan Prasad Adhikari, the Chief of Baitadi Police informed that the postmortem report has confirmed the murder after death in Bhagarathi’s case as well, yet, he added that the number of people involved in the rape and murder is still to be investigated.

The post-mortem report shows the genital injuries and the murder by squeezing the throat. According to the report, there are no injuries to other parts of the body.

“There is no evidence of gang-rape. We will have to wait for some time to find out what happened,” DIG Subedi commented on it adding, “evidence from the scene including blood, vaginal swab and clothing has been sent to the laboratory for further investigation.”

The police officials claim that there is strong evidence of the fact that the perpetrator is one of the acquaintances of the victim.

Home Minister Claims: There will be a success soon!

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ has assured that there will be a success in the investigation of Bhagarathi Bhatta’s murder case as this case is not as complicated as that of Nirmala Pant’s case.

“We have taken the incident seriously. We have mobilized our mechanism for research,” Minister Thapa told Nepal Students’ Union’s memorandum on Bhagarathi’s rape and murder case and added, “ we have even come very close to the culprit; the results will come out in a few days.”

Unfortunately, the police have not been able to nab the culprit in the rape and murder case of Nirmala Pant. Pant was murdered after rape on July 26, 2018.

How did the incident happen?

Bhagarathi Bhatta, a grade 12 student of the local Sanatan Dharma Secondary School, had gone to school on February 3, when she did not return till evening, the family members searched for her. Sadly, the overnight search also bore no good results.

Her body was found the next evening in the Lablek Community Forest about a kilometer from her home. The distance between home and school is about three kilometers.

According to DSP Narayan Prasad Adhikari, Chief of the District Police Office, Baitadi, and her body was found at a distance of about two kilometers from the Area Police Office Khochlek and the school.

He informed that her semi-naked body and a sharp-edged weapon were found two km away from her school.

DSP Adhikari revealed that Bhagarathi was in touch with her school friends till 2 pm even though the school was closed before 2 pm on the day of her disappearance.

There are evidence that after school she went to the local market and met some friends there, but as the way to her home was different from those of her friends, she walked along the Loblek Community Forest alone.

DSP Adhikari added that it was not still clear whether she was being followed by someone in hiding for long.

Relatives have refused to receive the body for a week. Bhagarathi’s relative Shiv Raj Bhatta informed that they have refused to collect the body so as to put extra pressure on the administration.

The relatives fear the administration could dilly-dally the investigation and let the case get the fate of Nirmala Pant, and have been refraining from taking the Bhagirathi’s body for last rituals.