By Our Reporter
It has been more than a year since 13-year-old Nirmala Panta was raped and brutally murdered in Kanchanpur on July 26, 2018. But police are still unable to find the culprit behind the heinous crime. Nirmala was raped and murdered before throwing her body in a sugarcane field.
The case became a nation-wide issue of protests for months.
People both in Kathmandu and Kanchanpur took to the street demanding actions against the culprits and a demonstration in Kanchanpur resulted in the death of a teenager and serious injury to another man.
The government formed one team after another to investigate into the case, but in vain. Three police officers lost job for the negligence in the investigation into the case, while Panta’s father went almost mad after the killing of his daughter.
In a year, around 600 people were interrogated during the investigation whereas 80 persons underwent DNA testing. But nothing concrete was found. The case eroded the popularity of the powerful communist government and the image of Nepal police. Still the case is haunting the government.
Pant, a grade nine student at the Saraswati Secondary School, and a resident of Bhimdutta Municipality in Kanchanpur, went missing after she visited her friend Roshani Bam’s home on July 26, b2018. Her body was found in the next day in a sugarcane field more than a kilometre from her home.
When the body was discovered and the police reached the crime scene, police officers first on the scene engaged in unethical and suspect behaviours, which eventually resulted in strict departmental action. And the unethical work made the case more mysterious. Prime Minister KP Oli added fuel in the fire stating that the Bam sisters were innocent in the case when an investigation was going into them. Nirmala had gone missing from their home.
Police framed one person after another as the culprit which only irked the public further. The Kanchanpur District Police had first presented Dilip Singh Bista as the primary accused in Pant’s rape and murder. However, locals refused to accept Bista as the culprit and demanded his release, accusing the police of framing him. Later, he was released when his DNA did not match the sample collected from Pant’s vaginal swab.
Later in December last year, Pradip Rawal, Pant’s neighbour, was nabbed in Kathmandu and Rawal’s friend, Bishal Chaudhary in Kanchanpur for interrogation. But they were proved innocent after similar DNA test.
The duo accused the police of torturing them during interrogation. These activities further complicated the situation.
Still, the people as well as the opposition parties are criticising the government for its inability to arrest the culprits involved in the crime. It has been case to show the incompetency of the powerful government.
It seems Nepal Police that succeeded to trace the criminals of big crimes may never find the person(s)who raped and murdered Panta.