The Chitwan District Court on Tuesday remanded a Nepal Army officer, who was arrested for allegedly beating Rajkumar Chepang to death after he entered a restricted area of Chitwan National Park, in custody.
Chiran Kumar Budha was arrested after 24-year-old Rajkumar Chepang of Piple Milan Chowk in Rapti Municipality-2 died allegedly due to in-custody beating. According to Chitwan District Court Information Officer Shiva Adhikari, the court has remanded Budha in custody for trial.
“After taking the available evidences into consideration, District Judge Gayatri Prasad Regmi ordered that the accused be remanded in custody in Bharatpur Jail for trial,” Adhikari said. A case has been filed against Budha demanding life imprisonment on the charge of killing the Chepang youth.
Budha, a resident of Geruwa-5 in Bardiya, was arrested on September 20. After finishing its investigation, the Chitwan police had submitted its report to the District Attorney’s Office (Public Prosecutor). On the basis of the report, the public prosecutor’s office had filed a case against Budha in Chitwan District Court on Monday.
Seven people, including Rajkumar, had left their homes in the afternoon of July 16 to collect green vegetables and small snails (ghongi), among other food items, in the nearby forest.
A soldier deployed for the Park’s security had taken them under control as they were picking snails in the Jyundi River, which lies within the boundaries of Chitwan National Park and is a restricted zone.
They were then taken into custody and thrashed indiscriminately by army personnel before being released. Rajkumar, who fell ill after the beating, was rushed to Bharatpur Hospital for treatment a week later.
Rajkumar’s father Bishnu Lal Chepang had lodged a complaint with the Chitwan District Police on July 26 demanding action against those involved in the beating. Bishnu Lal had lodged a complaint at the Chitwan District Police Office on July 24 naming the person who had beaten his son.
The complaint filed by Bishnu Lal mentions that 40-year-old Budha had beaten his son to death while the officer was on duty. The accused was arrested 10 days after the complaint’s registration.