Students and youths in the far western districts have been coming out into the streets, in protest, seeking justice for Bhagirathi Bhatta who police revealed was sexually assaulted before being murdered.
Demonstrations have continued in all the nine districts of Sudurpaschim Province – including Baitadi where the crime tool place – almost everyday since the incident came to light.
The youths have one demand “Give justice to Bhagirathi”. They have been showing their participation in various ways to seek the attention of and pressurise concerned authorities to take necessary steps towards bringing the culprit(s) to book. A harsh reminder of Nirmala Panta’s case, which remains unsolved till date with perpetrators on the loose, the incident has triggered an outrage amongst locals in the area.
Participating in the protest programmes are student organisations affiliated to political parties and youth organisations. While some political groups have issued statements demanding that action be taken against the criminals, demonstrations are taking place in the federal capital as well.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Uttamraj Subedi of Sudurpaschim Police has been investigating the case while staying in the area where the crime had taken place. Prior to this DIG Subedi had mobilised a technical team to assist in the investigation led by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Janak Raj Pandey of the Provincial Police Office.
Meanwhile, a separate team led by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) is also investigating the case.
Police have stated that while dozens of people have been investigated in connection to the case, few were taken in for detailed investigation, and evidences are being collected.
17-year-old Bhagirathi Bhatta of Dogadakedar Rural Municipality-7 of Sudurpaschim Province had gone missing since February 4 and was found lifeless in a community forest on February 5. The locals who had spotted her body had informed the police. On February 8, police concluded that the teenager had been raped before being strangulated to death.