As the Niranjan Ram and Bijaya Ram Murder Joint Struggle Committee in Rautahat intensifies its agitation demanding fair investigation into the custodial death of a Dalit youth, Nepal Police headquarters has relieved incumbent police Chief Superintendent of Police Rabiraj Khadka of his responsibility.

While SP Khadka has been recalled to the headquarters in Kathmandu, SP Siddi Bikram Shah has been sent to take charge of the district.

The agitating Dalit leaders have claimed 19-year-old Bijay Ram Chamar had died after police meted out extreme physical torture. Chamar breathed his last while receiving treatment at Birgunj-based National Medical College where he was taken by the police.

Police said Chamar was taken to the hospital after he complained of kidney problems.

Security situation in Rautahat is weakening by the day after a preliminary investigation of the probe panel set up by the Home Ministry to look into Chamar’s death concluded that the youth had died due to torture meted out to him by police.

Inspector Nabin Singh, who had ordered an investigation into Bijay’s role in a murder case, has been suspended for six months by a secretary-level meeting of the ministry, Province 2 Police Office have already suspended constables Munnu Kumar Singh and Hiroj Miya Dhuniya.

Rautahat police had arrested seven persons after 20-year-old Niranjan Ram of Jigadiya, Garuda Municipality, was found murdered with his throat slit on August 15.

The Struggle Committee has announced a series of protest programs till Monday in addition to the ongoing fast-unto-death protest in front of the area police office demanding that the persons involved in the murder of both the Dalit youths be brought to book.

Issuing a press statement, the National Human Rights Commission said the death of a person in police custody was a saddening incident and informed that Birgunj-based NHRC office in Province had launched an investigation into the case on the suspicion that Chamar was tortured while in police custody.

Stating that the incident was a case of caste-based discrimination, NHRC also recalled the recent death of Shambhu Sada in Dhanusha district while in police custody, death of Raju Sada in Janakpurdham-based Provincial Hospital, murder of Tribhuvan Ram in Saptari and murder of Roshan Ram in Siraha.

“NHRC’s monitoring show that murder, violence and caste-based discrimination against Dalit communities continue unabated across the country.”