Nepal: community-based defenders arrested for demonstrating on women's killingEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 8, 2021
- Event Description
A group of 13 people, including 11 women, who arrived in Kathmandu from Nepalgunj on Wednesday seeking justice, were rounded up on Friday evening from Maitighar Mandala where they were staging a protest. The protesters were having dinner when the police intervened and detained them.
Fourteen people from Banke district had taken a long arduous journey on foot to the national capital to demand a fair investigation into the death of Nakunni Dhobi and the disappearance of Nirmala Kurmi.
Their march for justice that covered over 500 kilometres was prompted after local authorities allegedly refused to deliver justice to Nakunni and Nirmala.
Thirty-eight-year-old Nakunni was found dead under suspicious circumstances at her home on July 20 in Ward 2 of Janaki Rural Municipality in Banke.
Fifty-two-year-old Nirmala had gone missing in January 2010 from the same rural municipality. Her disappearance had come two years after her two teenage sons were murdered within the span of one week. Neighbours and villagers say Nirmala owned a great deal of property, making her disappearance and the murder of her two sons suspicious. But Banke district police is accused of never taking her disappearance seriously.
When local residents and activists pressured the police to investigate Nirmala’s disappearance, the District Police Office, Banke on December 1 last year turned them away saying there was no point in investigating the matter as Nirmala was already dead.
When the relatives and neighbours of Nakunni and Nirmala tried to lodge complaints with the district police with the support of the Banke chapter of the National Women Rights Forum in August this year, police once again refused to investigate the cases.
Police have also used trumped up charges of “polygamy” to detain a women’s rights activist who was leading a protest against the failure to properly investigate two alleged murders linked to land acquisition.
Police initially defied an October 10 Supreme Court habeas corpus order to produce Ruby Khan, a human rights defender who had been arrested at a sit-in protest in Kathmandu. She was finally brought to the court, and released, on October 14. During her week in custody, Khan told Human Rights Watch, the police attempted to “bargain” with her saying she would be released if she ended her protest movement.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to Protest
- Women's rights
- Community-based HRD
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 8 October 2021, 13 community-based defenders including WHRDs were arrested by the police while staging a protest against recent cases of women's killing, including WHRD Ruby Khan, who was kept in custody over false charges of polygamy in Kathmandu, Nepal.