“Justice for Shalin”: Nation Shocked by 13-Year-Old’s Mysterious Death, Echoes Nirmala Panta Case

For the past few days, a photo of a minor girl with an auspicious red tika mark on her forehead, wearing a GunyuCholi (a traditional Nepali dress worn by girls), has flooded social media feeds. The caption, “Justice for Shalin,” has ignited a storm of questions and demands for answers.

The photo, which has garnered viral attention on social media, is 13-year-old Shalin Pokhrel, a student in the eighth grade at Ekta Shishu Niketan Boarding School in Ratnanagar Municipality-15 of Chitwan. Her lifeless body was discovered hanging from a rope attached to the hostel room’s ceiling fan. Shalin’s family asserts that her death was not a suicide but alleges that she was murdered by hanging after being raped.

Her body is currently at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, for a postmortem examination, six days after the incident. Upon the family of the girl expressing doubts about conducting the post-mortem in Chitwan, the girl’s body was taken to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital for the procedure. It is anticipated that the official post-mortem report will be available on Monday.

The family alleges that instead of notifying them immediately when the incident occurred, the school informed the police and removed the body from the room before the family members arrived. The family alleges that her death was not a result of suicide, but rather murder following rape. Shalin had been studying by staying in the school’s hostel for two years.

Following the teenage girl’s death, her family filed a murder complaint. Subsequently, the police arrested the school’s principal, Balhari Devkota, aged 60, the vice-principal, Kiran Bahadur Adhikari, aged 40, and the hostel warden, Kamal Sharma Paudel, aged 48, on Tuesday.

According to the order of the Chitwan District Court, they will be detained for seven days for investigations.

Suspicions have arisen that Shalin’s death case will also undergo a similar investigation as the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta.

Nirmala Panta, from Bhimdatta Municipality-2 in Kanchanpur district, was raped and murdered five years ago. On July 26, 2018, Nirmala’s body was discovered in a sugarcane field after she was raped and murdered while returning from her friend’s house. The perpetrator responsible for this incident remains unidentified yet.


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