Kathmandu: Violence reigned in a famed temple town in southern Nepal Monday, for the third consecutive day, with mobs attacking police posts and clashing with baton-wielding police after an Indian teenager, belonging to a minority community, was allegedly raped by a sub-inspector.
The 18-year-old girl from India’s Bihar state had eloped with an Indian youth to Nepal after their families objected to their relationship since he belongs to the Hindu community.
The pair arrived in Nepal’s temple town of Janakpur in Dhanusha district, along the Indo-Nepal border, on Saturday, police said.
They had planned to get married in the Janaki temple that draws thousands of pilgrims from India every year.
However, during their stay at the Manakamana Lodge near Janakpur railway station, the couple were allegedly attacked by a Nepali sub-inspector who was posted at the station.
Baburam Jha, the cop, overpowered the youth and allegedly raped the girl.
As the news spread, angry locals attacked the police post, resulting in over three dozen people, including eight policemen, being injured, police said.
The violence snowballed with several political parties joining the fray and demanding the resignation of Home Minister Bhim Rawal.
Police fired in the air Monday and burst teargas shells to bring the situation under control. At least a dozen people were hurt in the melee.
The authorities have suspended Jha, who is under detention while a committee is being formed to investigate the incident, police said.
Police also said they have no information about the whereabouts of the teenager and her escort.
The alleged incident occurred in a year the government has pledged to bring crime against women down to “zero” and a hotline has been set up in the prime minister’s office to receive complaints from victims.
Nepal’s security forces have been increasingly becoming the target of public anger with growing allegations of involvement in underworld activities and atrocities against women.
The government is yet to take action against a group of policemen who gangraped a woman colleague inside a police station in farwestern Nepal despite the National Human Rights Commission urging for punitive measures.
Recently, three women from the Dalit community, including a 12-year-old girl, were killed by the army in farwestern Nepal. However, the Defence Minister, Bidya Bhandari, tried to hush it up, saying the victims were part of an armed gang of poachers.