Nepal: Parents still await justice for poisoned son
January 22, 2014
A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission
Nepal: Two years on, and the family of a young man who was poisoned to death have been waiting for justice
The parents of Shiva Shankar Das (21) who was allegedly poisoned to death are still waiting for justice and compensation after two years. Shiva Shankar had a love affair with a 20-year old woman from a so-called ‘upper caste’ community and was allegedly poisoned by the girl’s relatives on January 30, 2012.
The Jagaran Media Center (JMC) reported this incident to the Asian Human Rights Commission and the AHRC released an Urgent Appeal in June 2012. Please see: NEPAL: Killing of a young man due to inter-caste love affair yet to be properly investigated five months on.
Initially the police refused to register the case. However due to immense pressure from the Dalit civil society, Dalit NGOs and the media, the police finally registered the case. However, they did not investigate the incident in detail. The AHRC mentioned the lack of attention and slowness of the investigation in our Urgent Appeal.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Dalit Commission (NDC), and also the members of the Subcommittee to study and find solutions to the caste based discrimination and untouchability experienced by Dalit communities within the Legislative Parliament related to the Women, Children and Social Welfare Committee conducted separate fact-finding missions and released their reports. These reports reiterated that Shiva Shankar was poisoned to death. These teams met the police, his family members, friends and the villagers. The NHRC, the NDC and the subcommittee recommended that the police speed up their investigation and bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.
The then Prime Minister, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai promised that the alleged perpetrators will be booked as per law and the victim’s family would receive interim relief from the government.
However, the AHRC is concerned that the government have not met any of these promises. The case has been registered at the Rajbiraj Appellate Court. Dipendra Chaudhary, one of the accused, was arrested after many delays and released on bail. It is evident that justice for Shiva Shankar Das is presently in limbo.
His father travelled to Kathmandu to seek justice and remained there for a month. On his next visit he stayed in Kathmandu for 2 weeks. He met different Dalit NGOs, government bodies, even the Prime Minister, Babural Bhattarai and the Home Minister, Bijay Kumar Gachhadhar. However, he did not receive any help, and there was no sign of justice being done.
The AHRC has now received reports that the family has received multiple threats within this two-year period to drop the case. The police have been unsupportive and did not even inform the family of any progress on their investigation. When the father tried to inquire, he was instead threatened that they would put him in prison. This is a serious lacuna in the institutions and the justice system in Nepal.
The AHRC also noticed the biased mentality of the Nepal government. In similar incidents, victims of caste based discrimination received compensation from the government where the amount was NPR 1 million/=. The families of Sete Damai who was killed due to an inter caste marriage feud and Manbir Sunar were provided the same amount. But the government still have not provided any compensation or delivered justice to the Das family. This raises a serious question of whether there is a different law and government in Nepal.
The aged parents of Shiva Shankar Das are still awaiting justice. They want a secure environment in which to live in their village. The parents are not asking for anything more than that which they entitled to: a speedy investigation and the delivery of justice.
The AHRC urges the Nepal government to end this wait and immediately conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations of poisoning. The family should be provided compensation as an immediate relief.