In the month and a half since the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Pant of Kanchanpur district, the police are no closer to apprehending the real culprits, even as they have already paraded some fake ones. On September 13, in a separate case, also in Kanchanpur, a father who had raped his 12-year-old daughter was given 22 years behind bars. But was it enough for such a horrific crime? Some activists say no less than death penalty will do.
The new constitution guarantees every Nepali’s right to dignified life, which most certainly means that a woman cannot be forced to have sex against her wishes. The same constitution also outlaws death penalty.
The proponents of capital punishment argue that the charter can always be amended and that no other type of punishment will deter would-be rapists. Its opponents contend that the idea of death penalty flies in the face of the each and every human being’s inalienable right to life (See Sabhyata Jha’s article, here).
Meanwhile, Nepal continues to be a dangerous place for women and girls. Of the 100 of them we surveyed, 93 women reported having experienced some kind of sexual harassment; 88 of them said that the experience had affected them emotionally (See Aarzoo Nepal’s opinion piece, here).
All these facts and figures lead to one unmistakable conclusion: despite some legal provisions to the contrary, there is still a long way to go when it comes to ensuring a level playing field between men and women.