An eight-year old Dalit girl in Nepal may have been the victim of a sacrificial murder because of her caste status. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is concerned that the local authorities may not do enough to investigate the crime.
The murder of an eight-year old Dalit girl in Nepal may remain unsolved because the victim belonged to the Harijan sub-caste, one of the poorest groups among Dalits. AHRC and other human rights groups fear that the police may prove careless in addressing the case due to its caste-based nature.
The girl, Manish Harijan, was found in the morning of 4 December 2009 with her throat slit after having disappeared the previous evening. Her father found her body in a field after having searched for her in vain the night before.
Local villagers in Maryadpur, Rupandehi District, and police officers suspect that a non-Dalit businessman may have killed Manish Harijan in his brick kiln as a human sacrifice to bring him good luck. The chimney of the kiln was found spinkled with water, and bricks were covered with blood, which is seen as evidence of such a sacrifice.
The businessman and four other suspects were arrested on 4 December. Nevertheless, the victim’s family and local villagers have reported that they encountered resistance from the police who allegedly showed negligence in investigating the murder and took several days to file a case.
The Nepal-based NGO Jagaran Media Center brought the murder to the attention of AHRC, which issued an appeal on 1 February 2010. Both organisations are concerned that the case may not receive proper attention from the police, as authorities in Nepal are often careless in addressing caste-based crimes.
AHRC has also written to two UN Special Rapporteurs – on racism and violence against women – calling for their intervention in the case.