Teen’s rape and murder sparks outcry, protest in Nepal

KATHMANDU (CNA) – Hundreds of Nepalis staged a mock funeral procession in the capital Kathmandu on Friday after the rape and murder of a teenage girl drew attention to a rise in sexual assault cases.

Bhagirathi Bhatta, 17, went missing on Thursday last week while she was going home from school. Her body was found a day later in a gorge near her village in Baitadi district in western Nepal.

An inital investigation by police found that she had been raped and then strangled.

At the protest in Kathmandu, demonstrators dressed in white mourning clothes carried a young woman on a bamboo stretcher to symbolise the victims who lose their lives to such violent crimes.

Hundreds of Nepalis staged a mock funeral procession in the capital Kathmandu on Friday after the rape and murder of a teenage girl drew attention to a rise in sexual assault cases. AFP

Others followed, calling for an end to violence against women and justice for victims as they marched.

Several people wrapped black cloth around their eyes to symbolically protest the government turning a blind eye to the spate of cases.

“We are here to challenge and pressure the government … The murderer has to be brought out to the streets, has to be punished,” protester Rekha Thapa told AFP.

“Next to none have received justice,” another protester, Anoushka Pandey, told AFP.