Kathmandu (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - Nepal police rounded up two dozen protesters who were staging a sit-in in front of the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar on Saturday.
Security personnel detained 23 activists, including 14 females, when they tried to enter the 'no-go' zone. A three-year-old was also taken to the detention centre along with her mother.
The 52nd day of the sit-in, the Occupy Baluwatar campaign marked the ninth anniversary of the alleged torture and killing of 15-year-old Maina Sunar. Activist Mandira Sharma recited an assumed letter written by Maina. "I was tortured before I was murdered. They buried me nearby. This should not happen to anyone else," read the letter.
"I know she will never come back. All I want is the culprit punished," Maina's mother Devi Sunar said in tears. "Am I asking for too much?"
Moved by her speech, the crowd advanced towards the restricted zone and scuffled with the police. A protester, Badri Bhusal, bled when a policeman punched him, while a few others received punches and kicks before they were loaded onto a truck and taken into custody. They were released three hours later.
"The police should be arresting those the court has convicted and issued arrest warrant against, but rights activists and victims' family members were rounded up from a peaceful protest. This shows the state of impunity and the rule of law in the country," Sharma said after her release.
The Baluwatar protests, which have been ongoing for the last few months, were first triggered by the rape and robbery of Sita Rai (name changed) at the Tribhuvan International Airport on November 21.
The campaign, titled 'Occupy Baluwatar', has taken up emblematic cases of violence against women, namely those of Chhori Maiya Maharjan, Saraswati Subedi, Shiwa Hasami and Bindu Thakur. Maharjan has been missing since February last year while Subedi was discovered dead two months ago at her workplace and Hasami and Thakur were burnt alive.
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