Justice for Nirmala Kurmi elusive as Nepalgunj agitators launch second round of sit-in protests

The case of Nirmala Kurmi remains unsolved. Ruby Khan, the activist who has been leading the protests, says that the government has not taken this matter seriously.

The group had first staged their protest on October 6 after walking for days to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj. (File photo)

Anushka Nepal

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Kathmandu: Protestors from Nepalgunj are once again in Kathmandu. They have started a sit-in protest after having been denied justice for Nirmala Kurmi.

The group had first staged their protest on October 6 after walking for days to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj.

Bowing to the protests, the Ministry of Home Affairs had then decided to form an investigative committee to further investigate the cases.

The report finalized from the investigation was submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It declares that Mata Prasad Dhobi lodged a complaint against Ram Kumar Dhobi and Itwari Dhobi, alias Lakshmi Ram Dhobi, of Janaki Rural Municipality-2 at the District Police Office, Banke.

Both have now been charged with murder, and their case is ongoing at Banke District Court.

Unfortunately, the case of Nirmala Kurmi has not been solved. Ruby Khan, the activist who has been leading the protest, says that the government has not taken this matter seriously.

In the case of Nirmala Kurmi, her last statement named some of the individuals including Badhshah Kurmi, who, according to her, had physically harassed her multiple times in the past. Nirmala went missing weeks later after the release of her statement.

The investigative team has concluded that she was murdered for her property and that the eight people against whom there is an arrest warrant issued by the court should be taken into custody for further process. The suspects were taken into custody on 27th November, one of whom was released because of his age limit.

Since Kurmi, the main accused, has yet not been taken into custody, Khan believes that the government is trying to protect him. Kurmi is the local leader of the Nepali Congress. “If the government really wanted justice, it would have already sent the CIB team to investigate the property of Nirmala Kurmi,” Khan said.

Reportedly, Badshah Kurmi’s people have threatened the agitators to abandon their protests, according to Rahul Sheikh, an activist.

‘Legally, there are several evidences that says Nirmala Kurmi was being harassed and tortured for her property, one of them being her statement before her death’

According to the Banke Police, Nirmala died in India and had her last rites done there. Thus, they believe that they have given up on the further investigation of her disappearance.

Khan, on the other hand, believes that the police have falsified paperwork in order to protect Kurmi.

“Legally, there are several evidences that says Nirmala was being harassed and tortured for her property, one of them being her statement before her death,” said Mohna Ansari, an attorney and former commissioner of National Women Commission. “Secondly, the government had provided her with a safehouse which proves that her life was already in danger.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that it has done its share of work and now it depends on the authorities on how they will assess the report they provided.

But after all these protests and outcry of the protestors, there seems to be no justice for the victim. The question still remains when, and whether, Nirmala Kurmi will receive justice. The answer, like justice, remains elusive.

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