Tuesday, May 24, 2022

NHRC investigates death of Dalit boy in police custody


The National Human Rights Commission has expressed grave concern over mysterious death of Bijaya Ram Chamar, 19, of Garuda Municipality-8, Rautahat, at Birgunj-based National Medical College, in the course of treatment for renal disease while in police custody.

He had died on Wednesday night. The Dalit teenage boy was arrested and kept in the custody of Garuda-based Area Police Office on the charge of murder. He was accused of killing a 20-year-old Niranjan Ram of the same municipality, on August 15.

Issuing a press statement today, the rights body said the death of a person while in police custody was a very saddening incident. “Birgunj-based Province 2 Office of the NHRC has launched an investigation on the suspicion that Chamar was meted out physical torture in the police custody. “We have also written to the Department of Forensic Medicine at TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj and Rautahat District Police Office, directing them to provide NHRC investigating officers the copies of medical examination report and post-mortem report of Chamar at the earliest,” read the statement.

The rights body termed it an incident of caste-based discrimination and said it had taken the issue seriously. The NHRC also recalled the recent death of Shambhu Sada in Dhanusha district while in police custody, death of Raju Sada in Janakpurdham-based Provincial Hospital, murder of Tribhuvan Ram in Saptari and murder of Roshan Ram in Siraha. “Monitoring conducted by the NHRC show that murder, violence and caste-based discrimination against Dalit communities continue unabated across the country,” it warned.

Such incidents have been taking place even in districts like Kalikot, Kailali, Rukum and Ilam. The NHRC has repeatedly urged all the three tiers of the government to effectively implement the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights articulated in the constitution for protection and promotion of human rights of the Dalit communities.

According to the rights body, caste-based discrimination is against the right to equality as guaranteed by the constitution, Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability (Crime and Punishment) Act, and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965 to which Nepal is a party.

The NHRC has called on the Government of Nepal to bring to book the perpetrator(s) of such inhumane and criminal acts.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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