News Digest: Human Rights, Gender and Social Inclusion (October 14 – 20, 2021)

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Human Rights

A group of 14 people led by Rubi Khan, a rights activist, from Banke, walked all the way to Kathmandu demanding justice and truth, after the District Police Office of Banke refused to investigate the case of the suspicious death of Nakunni Dhobi and disappearance of Nirmala Kurmi.  

Ruby Khan, one of the leading protesters from Nepalgun was arrested from Maitighar Mandala. Advocate Mohna Ansari, a former member of the National Human Rights Commission, moved the Supreme Court on October 10 with a habeas corpus petition demanding her immediate release, stating that Khan’s whereabouts has been unknown since her arrest.

The Supreme Court on October 12 ordered the police and the Attorney General’s Office to present Ruby Khan before the court by 11 am on October 14. She was presented before the court and released the same day. 

The government has signed an agreement with Ruby Khan who was staging a hunger strike along with 13 others protesters. The government has agreed to form a six- member investigation committee lead by the joint secretary of the Home Ministry to investigate the death of Nankunni Dhobi of Banke and the disappearance of Nirmala Kurmi and submit an investigation report within a week. 

The deadly clash between landless squatters and police at the under-construction Motipur Industrial Area in Rupandehi district on October 10, resulted in killing four protesters, and injuring dozens.

The Human Rights Watch, South Asia division,  has demanded the Nepali authorities to independently investigate the incident of police shooting and hold police officers accountable for using excessive force against landless squatters at Motipur Industrial Area in Rupandehi district.

Bhim Bahadur Bishwakarma, a 58 years old Dalit man of Bharatpur Metropolitan City-4 of Chitwan was brutally killed for reportedly ‘wanting to enter a temple’ on the Hindu festival of Dashain. Many locals, witnesses and rights activists have said that caste-based discrimination was what led to the incident. 

Gender

Cases of witch hunt are on rise as a man from Mahottari district kills his sister in law on charges of witchcraft and four people were arrested for force feeding human excreta to a woman after accusing her of witchcraft in another municipality from Mahottari. 

17 years old male arrested from Tanahun on the accusation of raping a 44 years old woman. Also a 20 years old male who raped a 13 years old girl was arrested from Palpa.

Three underage girls raped by the group of nine youths in Sindhuli. Police have arrested three of them and the search is going for another six.

Violence against women are on rise in Shuklaphanta Municipality of Kanchanpur district as more than 281 women and girls are seeking services from the safe houses among which justice is provided to 50 women. The most common cases are of domestic violence, polygamy, child marriage, debauchery, forgery, verbal abuse and physical assault. 

Social Inclusion

The coalition partners have reached a power-sharing deal after hard bargains and have paved the way for Cabinet expansion on Friday 8 October. Among the twenty-three ministers; six ministerial seats are held by women: Uma Regmi (Women, Children and Senior Citizens) from Congress. Pampha Bhusal (Energy, Water and Irrigation), Bodh Maya Kumari Yadav (State minister for Education, Science and Technology) and Sashi Shrestha (Land Management) from the Maoist Centre. Ram Kumari Jhakri (Urban Development) from CPN (Unified Socialist). Renu Yadav (Physical Infrastructure and Transport) from Janata Samajbadi Party.

According to the statement issued by the Public Service Commission, Province 2 has received the highest number of civil service job applicants.The growing interest of the people in the civil service is also fueled by the inclusion policy adopted by Nepal since 2007.

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