Amnesty International demands accountability and justice in Ajit Dhakal Mijar’s case

Ajit Dhakal Mijar, an 18-year-old young Dalit youth, who was in an inter-caste relationship with a girl belonging to a “dominant caste", was found dead in a suspicious manner in 2016.

Mother of Ajit Mijar cries looking at a photo of her son, Ajit Mijar. Photo courtesy: Global Press Journal

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Amnesty International has said that the government authorities have failed to conduct a thorough, impartial, fair, and timely investigation into the death of Ajit Dhakal Mijar.

 Ajit, an 18-year-old young Dalit youth, who was in an inter-caste relationship with a girl belonging to a “dominant caste” without her family’s approval, was found dead in a suspicious manner in 2016.

 “Nepal’s criminal justice system should uncover and thoroughly examine any discriminatory motive, including caste-based violence, behind Ajit’s death,” said Amnesty International in its statement issued on Sunday. “Any such motive should be considered in the prosecution of suspects, which must be tried in proceedings that respect fair trial standards. This is crucial to ensure accountability and justice for caste-based violence in inter-caste relationships.”

The Amnesty International, in its statement, has also provided the following background information of Ajit Dhakal Mijar: 

“Ajit Dhakal Mijar an 18-year-old young Dalit youth was found dead on 14 July 2016 in a suspicious manner.

Ajit was in an inter-caste relationship with a girl named Kalpana Parajuli who belonged to a so-called “dominant caste.”

The relatives of the girl Kalpana were not approving of the inter-caste relationship as Ajit belonged to the Dalit community the so-called “low caste” and Kalpana belonged to the so-called “dominant caste.” 

The deceased Ajit was found dead by hanging on a tree. His death was noted as suicide and his corpse declared as unidentified was buried by the police authorities.

Ajit’s father Haribhakta Dhakal Mijar heard about the death of his son via news and approached the police authorities. The police mentioned that the death of Ajit was by suicide, and he was buried. 

Ajit’s father demanded the police to exhume the buried corpse of his son to perform the final rites.  When the body of his son was exhumed, Ajit’s father found certain anomalies which raised his suspicion that the death of his son was not suicide but homicide. So, Ajit’s father took the exhumed corpse to hospital as the cause of death was not under normal circumstances. 

Ajit’s corpse for the last seven years is preserved in a morgue at the Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj in Nepal as Ajit’s father refused to perform final rites of his son until he gets justice.  

Ajit’s father filed the first information report to the Area Police Office in Gajuri, Dhading on 17 July 2016, suspecting the murder of his son, naming three accused who were relatives of Kalpana Parajuli and to investigate the death of his son. 

At the conclusion of the police investigation and prosecutorial evidence at trial proceedings, on 3 June 2018, the Dhading District Court pronounced the verdict to acquit all three named accused namely Binod AKA Tek Bahadur Parajuli, Dhruba AKA Bhoj Bahadur Parajuli and Samjhana Parajuli in Ajit Mijar’s case, who are relatives of Kalpana Parajuli. 

Subsequently, on 25 April 2022, the Bench of Patan High Court confirmed the verdict of Dhading District Court by acquitting all three accused. On instructions from the High Court Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General decided not to appeal the judgment. 

Unsatisfied with the decision of the Public Prosecutor’s office, Ajit’s father on 3 May 2023, filed a petition before the Attorney General’s Office premised on the rights guaranteed under Victim Protection Act of 2018. Notwithstanding any response, Ajit’s father has now moved the Supreme Court of Nepal challenging the High Court’s verdict.

The deceased’s family alleges miscarriage of justice in criminal justice proceedings which includes wilful negligence on part of the police investigation and prosecutorial evidence gathering and partial trial hearings. 

The legality of addressing caste-based violence in inter-caste relationships was overlooked in this case. Further the undue delay has increased the complexity of Ajit’s case as the deceased’s corpse is preserved in the Teaching Hospital for the last seven years.

The deceased’s family continue to remain hopeful that justice will be served and their review petition at the Supreme Court to reopen the case at the trial court and a time-bound, careful and thorough adjudication of evidence is ordered.”