Panel sees lapses in probe into violence against women
KATHMANDU, Jan 16: The fifteen days given by the government to the investigation monitoring committee to submit its report on cases of violence against women has come to an end with rather disappointing results despite the ongoing "Occupy Baluwatar Movement".
The committee is going to submit the report, which has yet to be finalized, to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai at 10 am on Wednesday.
Members of the committee said they found flaws and lapses in the ongoing investigation into the cases involving Sita Rai, Saraswati Subedi and Chhorimaiya Maharjan, among others.
"There definitely are several gaps or flaws in the investigations. No wonder the cases are indeed challenging to investigate. We are still working on our report," said Sapana Malla Pradhan, one of the members of the monitoring committee. "However, we are going to submit it to the Prime Minister at 10 am tomorrow," she added.
Spokesperson of the National Women´s Commission and another member of the committee Mohana Ansari stated that the report would hardly please the victims, their families or the thousands of people demanding justice for Saraswati Subedi, Sita Rai, Chhorimaiya Maharjan and other victims.
"It is not that there has not been any achievement. However, slow progress and many lapses in the investigations have not helped for satisfactory results," Ansari said adding that the investigation into Sita Rai´s case, re-post-mortem of Saraswati Subedi and other things did not go as expected.
Occupy Baluwatar Movement or the spontaneous protests against gender-based violence that started more than two weeks ago were trigged by the demands for justice for Sita Rai, who was robbed and raped allegedly by airport officials, for Saraswati Subedi, who was allegedly murdered by her landlords, Bindu Thakur and Shiba Hasmi, who were burnt alive, and Chhorimaiya Maharjan, who remains missing for the last 10 months.
Meanwhile, Ujjawal Thapa, a youth activist parcticipating in the movement stressed that irrespective of what the report of the committee says, sit-in and protests in front of the Prime Minister´s residence in Baluwatar would go on for indefinite period until and unless justice is done in the aforementioned cases. "Most probably they will submit the report tomorrow. But no matter what, this movement will not stop as it has grown only stronger with time. It will come to an end only when the government ensures justice for the victims of violence," he said.
Speaking at a discussion at Martin Chautari, Subedi´s parents said they want appripriate punishment for those responsible for the death of their daughter and urged the government to ensure that no other women in the country will have to meet the same fate as Saraswati at the hands of ´powerful people.´
"Let alone immediate investigation, it took us so many days to even register the case at police office. They said my daughter was found hanging at the fifth floor of the house and they did not bother to inform anyone. My daughter is 60 to 65 kg, how can she hang from a bathroom shower as they have claimed?" Umadevi Adhikari, the deceased´s mother, said.
The report of re-postmortem on Saraswati as reported by IGP Kuber Singh Rana last week confirmed that she died by by hanging but it was not yet clear whether it was a suicide.
Meanwhile, issuing press statement, UNICEF has shown serious concern over the alarmingly rising cases of rape, murder and disappearance of women in Nepal. The letter issued by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper and UNICEF representative Hanaa Singer said that "the wide public attention that is now being generated has created momentum that we cannot allow to simply subside, it must be supported if real change is to occur in Nepal and globally.´