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Outcry in Nepal over ‘gangrape’ by Indian police

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : The powerful youth wing of Nepal’s ruling Maoist party has said it will start a protest programme in the India-Nepal border area if Indian authorities did not punish the policemen responsible for the alleged gangrape of two Nepali migrant women.

On Sunday, the Young Communist League (YCL), the strong arm of the former underground party, and a local youth organisation, the Khukuri Club, blocked the India-Nepal border entry point at Rupandehi for an hour in the morning, demanding an apology from the Indian authorities for the alleged gangrape.

Nepal’s leading daily Kantipur as well as its sister publication in English, the Kathmandu Post, reported that two Nepali women, who were part of a group of six travelling to Mumbai, were gangraped by policemen of India’s Uttar Pradesh state Tuesday.

The women were reportedly heading for the Gulf countries via India when they were stopped at the railway station in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur town.

According to the reports, two of the women were marched to a local hotel and raped by five policemen.

Inspector General of Police (Gorakhpur) Harish Chandra Kashyap was reported as saying that two of the policemen named in the incident had been suspended while action was being taken against three more.

The incident was taken up by an NGO, the Indo-Nepal People’s Solidarity Forum, which said the Indian police were trying to hush up the case.

“After this matter came to light, the UP Police is now trying to cover this heinous crime by projecting the rape as an incident of molestation and eve-teasing,” Pavan Patel, the general secretary of the NGO, said in a letter sent Monday to the media in Nepal.

“In the name of ‘action’, two policemen Manoj Patel and Harinder Singh were suspended and no action has been taken against the others, policemen Binay Kumar Pathak, Rajesh Kumar Pandey, Binay Kumar Singh and others as well as the owner of the Mallika hotel.”

Patel said his organisation, which has a stronghold in the Indian cities where there is a large number of Nepali migrants, is demanding an inquiry by India’s federal investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The NGO is also demanding a medical examination of the two victims, saying that it is yet to be conducted by the Indian authorities. It has sent copies of the letter to government officials in both India and Nepal, Patel said.

Darwin, the YCL chief in Siddharthnagar across the border with Uttar Pradesh, said that if the culprits were not brought to justice and the Indian authorities failed to tender an apology, his organisation would start a series of protest movements in the border area.