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Bhagrathi Rape and Murder Case: NHRC begins field inspection, urges govt to carry out impartial investigation

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has begun inspection of the rape and murder case of Bhagrathi Bhatta in Baitadi.

Seventeen-year-old Bhatta of Chadepani of Dogada Kedar Rural Municipality-7 was reportedly raped and murdered on Wednesday. She was a 12th grader in the local Sanatan Dharma Secondary School in Khochalek.

According to Dr Tikaram Pokharel, spokesperson for the national rights body, a team from the Provincial NHRC Office in Sudur Paschim’s Dhangadi has left for Baitadi in a bid to study the rape and murder case in detail.

The commission also sent a letter to the District Police Office, Baitadi asking for the latest findings on the case during the investigation.

Those involved in the rape have not been identified yet. “In the preliminary investigation, we have found that Bhatta was taken to Tawalek Community Jungle and murdered after rape while she was returning to home from her school at around 2PM on Wednesday,” said Uttam Subedi, Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police of Sudur Paschim Province. “Further investigation into the case is underway and detailed information is awaited,” he added.

The commission, releasing a press statement on Sunday, stated that the child psychology has been impacted due to the lack of security as children in hill and mountainous districts are compelled to cover a long distance for education. “This has been a big threat to the children’s right to live, be protected and develop themselves.”

The commission also urged the government to immediately conduct an impartial and effective investigation into the incident, take special care for the safety of witnesses and gather evidence during the investigation, bring the culprits to justice and provide interim relief to the families of the victims.

The rights body also stated that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights 1966, the Convention on the Children’s Rights 1989 and the Constitution of Nepal and other applicable laws guarantee the right of every person to live with dignity, security and justice.

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