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An ‘inexplicable’ moment


Data Ram Rai was taking a post lunch siesta on a wooden bed at his house’s porch on November 21 in Bhojpur. A familiar touch woke him up in the middle of his catnap. No sooner had he started rubbing his eyes than he found somebody hugging him tightly to his chest. As she started weeping buckets, the moment was a dream come true for the 48-year-old man.

“I cannot describe the moment when I met my daughter for the first time in a gap of five years,” he recalled. “I was at a loss. I had no idea what happened on the spur of the moment.” Sita had left home five years ago in her quest for a good life and was incommunicado for years. Her journey had begun from Dharan, Pokhara, Delhi and finally to an afar land in Saudi Arabia that her family was never informed about.

Sita, a gullible young lady, was the third of his five daughters. “She was so innocent. I wonder how she scrapped by,” he said. “I was worried all the time when she did not contact us. I tried to trace her whereabouts with relatives and also informed police but in vain.”

The father realised that his credulous little daughter had changed a lot. “She kept on crying as if something was pricking her pain and wouldn’t utter a word why she was in a flood of tears,” he told The Post fixing his eyes on grooves of trees at distant on Wednesday.

She never narrated the TIA incident with anybody. After a week of silence, she confided the incident to her sister Sita while lamenting about not being able to bring any gifts to the family members.

Her sister, who is pursuing her studies in Dharan, was on cloud nine to see her beloved one after a long time, but was devastated on hearing the robbery at the TIA.  After the robbery came to light, the Rai family came to Kathmandu to recover the hard-earned money police had snatched from Sita. Data Ram approached his niece who helped track down the crooked constable, under police custody now for investigation.  Little did they know that it was not just a robbery, but she was also physically abused by the same constable. “I was shocked to hear what my daughter had gone through,” Data Ram recalled, “How would a father feel to hear such a horrific incident?”

Constable Parsuram Basnet had reportedly forced her to sleep with him threatening her of life. “He had warned her that she would kill her if she exposes the incident,” he said.

Later, immigration officers Ram Prasad Koirala, Tek Raj Pokharel and Somnath Khanal came to Basnet’s rescue. They promised to return the looted money and even pledged to chip in as much as they want to keep their mouth shut. “But I did not listen. These criminals robbed her of something that money can never buy. I want justice now,” he said.

Activists wake up to plight

KATHMANDU: An amalgam of young activists has launched a public campaign demanding justice for Sita Rai (name changed) who was robbed and allegedly raped by a government employee.   The 21-year-old migrant worker, was robbed by immigration officials upon her arrival from Saudi Arabia at the Tribhuvan International Airport and subsequently "raped" by a police constable.

The activists have launched a campaign on Twitter and Facebook and put up a petition online to press the concerned authorities to book the guilty in accordance with the law.

Clamour to bring culprits to justice

KATHMANDU: Rights activists on Wednesday demanded a stern action against those involved in “looting and raping” Sita Rai (name changed).  They came down heavily on the government for delay in acting on the report prepared by the probe committee. “The report should be made public without any delay and the accused should be brought to justice,” said rights activist Mandira Sharma speaking at an interaction organised by the National Women Commission.

She stressed the need for a mechanism to monitor the case as it is against government officials. “We cannot be assured of justice unless the investigation is carried out in a transparent way,” she said.  A case has been filed against three immigration officials and a police constable on the charge of robbery and rape. Police constable Parsuram Basnet and senior non-gazetted officer Somnath Khanal are in police custody, while section officers Ram Prasad Koirala and Tika Pokharel are absconding. NWC member Mohana Ansari said top immigration officials cannot remained mute over this incident. “Media reports have indicted high officials, including the director general of the department,” she said, “Nobody should walk scot free even after committing such a horrendous crime.”

The participants asked the NWC to take the lead in the case until justice is delivered. It has been learnt that Koirala belongs to the Nepali Congress affiliated Civil Employees’ Union.  At the function, NWC Chairperson Shekh Chandtara assured that the commission would take up the case.

Posted on: 2012-12-27 04:00