Three different cases have been filed against 34 people for their alleged involvement in the killings of Dalit youths in Soti, Rukum (West).
The Rukum District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed cases against the alleged perpetrators of the crime at the district court demanding life imprisonment. Homicide, attempted homicide and caste-based discrimination and untouchability charges have been filed against them.
According to Krita Bahadur Bohara, the registrar at the court, cases were filed against 34 people—20 who were arrested based on the complaint filed by the family members of the deceased; nine people held in the course of police investigation; and five accused who are still at large. All three charges were filed against 33 people, including Chaurjahari Municipality Ward No. 8 Chairman Dambar Bahadur Malla, while a case was filed against Indra Bahadur Malla of Bheri Municipality in Jajarkot district for abetting the crime.
After conducting an investigation into the incident, police on Friday submitted a report to the District Attorney’s Office. The Attorney’s Office filed the chargesheets against the accused based on the police findings.
Bohara said the court would start recording the statements of two children under 18 years of age from Monday while the statements of other suspects would be recorded Tuesday onwards.
On May 23, villagers of Soti in Chaurjahari Municipality, Rukum (West), allegedly chased away Nabaraj BK and 18 of his friends from the neighbouring district of Jajarkot upon learning that the group had come to help Nabaraj elope with his 17-year-old girlfriend.
Since then, six bodies have been recovered from the Bheri river and its vicinity.
On May 30, a team of Karnali Provincial Assembly members, after visiting the incident site and talking to witnesses and family members, concluded that the incident was premeditated and borne out of caste-based discrimination.
Police have so far arrested 29 individuals in connection to the incident, 20 of whom are the prime suspects of the murders and nine others who were held for additional investigation, according to Rukum (West) Police chief DSP Thag Bahadur KC.
The federal Ministry of Home Affairs has formed a five-member team to investigate the incident. The federal parliament also constituted a nine-member committee last week to probe the incident, giving it 30 days to submit a report.