Kathmandu, Dec 31- A case akin to the Ruchika Girotra molestation has emerged in Nepal with the police trying to cover up an incident of six cops raping a woman colleague. The Nepal media has begun a campaign on the victim's behalf, triggering a public outcry.
Policewoman Suntali Dhami was gangraped by her colleagues inside the Achham police station in a remote part of western Nepal Sep 27.
However, the police authorities tried to hush up the case and assassinate the victim's character till the media campaign started.
The Naya Patrika daily was the first to report how Dhami was asked to celebrate the Dashain festival by six male colleagues, including an assistant sub-inspector, three constables and two jawans.
According to Dhami, she was given food spiked with drugs and fell unconscious. However, she says she had regained consciousness and identified two of the six as raping her but was too weak to offer resistance.
Police at first refused to register her complaint. When they were forced to do so after public outrage, a reluctant medical test was conducted only four days after the gangrape when the evidence was fast vanishing.
However, Nepal's National Human Rights Commission, which conducted two investigations, said there was circumstantial evidence and witnesses' accounts to prove gangrape and asked Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal's office to order the arrest of the accused, suspend them and start criminal proceedings against them.
The commission has also recommended departmental action against two more senior officials - deputy superintendent of police Chhabilal Dhanda and inspector Sharada Prasad Chaudhari, saying they tried to obstruct investigation and project the victim as having consented to sex.
But three months later, the government has not touched the assistant sub-inspector, Dan Singh Bhandari, and two of the constables. To appease the public, it has charged only three of the most junior cops involved.
Bhandari is believed to have political clout since Home Minister Bhim Rawal also comes from the same district.
Students' organisations and other human rights groups have started demonstrations in Kathmandu, seeking justice for Dhami. Nepal's parliament has formed a new committee for further investigations.
In yet another bid to mollify the protestors, the cabinet decided to form its own investigative commission headed by a judge. But the panel was struck down by the Supreme Court that said a new panel was superfluous when the case was already sub judice.
Rights activists feel that given Nepal's strong environment of impunity, the accused will never be brought to justice. They said the government failed to file a case against them and the time limit for filing it lapsed in November. (IANS)
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