Nankunni Dhobi of Newaji village in Banke was found hanging from the ceiling of her house on July 20. Dhobi had earlier appealed the police to intervene stating that she had been subjected to domestic violence for a long time and that the nature of the abuse could lead to her murder.
Though Nepalgunj Police declared her death as suicide, a group of women along with a few men have alleged the security officials of rushing to the conclusion instead of conducting a proper investigation.
Similarly, Nirmala Kurmi from Paraspur village near Nepalgunj has been missing since November last year. Her relatives had lodged a complaint with the police on December 1, but no investigation was carried out. Although the police have now assumed that she has died, they do not have any evidence about the cause of death or the culprit.
Local women say that the police had ignored their repeated requests to investigate the suspicious death of the two women. Hence, in search of justice, 11 women and 3 men set off on a journey to Singha Durbar in Kathmandu on foot.
They have been on the road for six days now. They left Nepalgunj last Friday and reached Bhalubang in Dang on Tuesday after five days. Bhalubang is the proposed capital of Lumbini province.
They said they will hold a sit-in at the Lumbini Chief Minister’s Office for a few days before move towards Kathmandu.
Police, however, have claimed that it was clear from Nankunni’s medical report that she had committed suicide. Meanwhile, Badshah Kurmi, a former lawmaker and Nepali Congress leader, has been accused of being involved in the abduction of Nirmala Kurmi.
Chief District Officer of Banke Shivlal Gelal said, “Police have investigated the case of Nirmala Kurmi’s abduction and submitted the file to the district government prosecutor’s office. The government prosecutor’s office has put the matter on hold.”
“One woman was found dead at home, a single woman is still missing and the police say she is dead. The police ignored us even after we have filed multiple complaints and held several demonstrations,” said rights activist Ruby Khan.
The group staged a sit-in at the District Administration Office, Banke and started their journey from there.
Activist Khan said they started the journey with hopes to hand over a memorandum to the Prime Minister after their demands were not addressed even after a 19-day sit-in at the gate of the Banke District Administration Office.
“Every day, a woman who has been subjected to violence is found dead. Police deems it suicide without any investigation,” brother of deceased Nankunni, Mata Prasad Dhobi said.