Scores of people from Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj, Butwal, Chitwan, Kathmandu, and other parts of the country have reached Kanchanpur to join in on an indefinite sit-in protest launched to press the authorities to identify and arrest the perpetrators involved in the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta.
The parents of Nirmala began the indefinite sit-in before the Kanchanpur District Administration Office (DAO) on Sunday, and many others have started to take part in the protest with them. Kranti Lama, of Kathmandu, who reached Mahendranagar to express his support for Nirmala’s family, said that the government is being indifferent and neglectful. “I am here to demand justice for Nirmala and support her parents,” he said.
Every day, the number of people supporting Nirmala’s parents’ sit-in protest programme has been increasing. On Tuesday alone, more than 300 people reached the site where the Panta couple have been staging their sit-in and expressed their solidarity. Ram Ghising of Nepalgunj said he also joined the sit-in protest to pressurise the government.
On Monday evening, central member of Nepali Congress Dilendra Prasad Badu also reached Mahendranagar and expressed his support for the bereaved family. Locals, representatives of various organisations, political leaders and right activists have also been expressing their solidarity with Nirmala’s parents.
“We are saddened by this incident,” said Bhojraj Bhatta of Bhimdutta Municipality-18, adding that even if Nirmala’s parents fall sick, the sit-in will continue for a long time. “The police administration has not paid any heed to our requests, even after the start of the sit-in protest,” said Bhatta. Nirmala’s parents said that their sit-in protest will continue until they get justice.
The police have been incapable of giving the Bhatta family justice by claiming that they do not have sufficient, concrete evidence regarding the case to find the perpetrator. The body of Nirmala, a ninth grader at a local school, was found in a sugarcane field in Bhimdutta Munciapality-18, Kanchanpur, on July 27, a day after she was reported missing. The most mortem report of Nirmala showed that the teenager had been raped and strangled to death.