Arrest of Mahara, parliament speaker in Nepal : No- one is above law

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Nepal Police has arrested Krishna Bahadur Mahara , who was accused of rape by a woman who works at the Federal Parliament Secretariat.

 The court has given permission to the police to arrest Krishna Bahadur Mahara , a towering figure in the country’s governing Nepal Communist Party. A bench of Justice Brajesh Pyakurel on Sunday has rendered permission to the police to arrest Mahara and carry the investigation.

Mahara, the Speaker of House of Representatives , had earlier tendered his resignation to create atmosphere for impartial investigation after the accusation.

Mahara tendered his resignation to deputy speaker of the House Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe. He himself resigned as Speaker until the “investigation is complete”. In a way he tendered a conditional resignation. Many argued that the resignation can’t be conditional. Later, he tendered his second resignation.

A formal complaint was lodged against Mahara at the Baneshwor police station on Friday evening. Police had failed to make stride in this case citing the lack of a formal complaint and as the victim had gone back on one’s word. Many had believed that she rescinded due to pressure.

According to the sources, the woman accused Mahara of raping her at her Tinkune apartment on Sunday.  Mahara, however, refuted the allegation.  “This is purely an attempt to defame Speaker Mahara and his political career,” according to press statement issued by Mahara’s secretariat.

According to Hamra Kura, Mahara arrived in her apartment getting drunk and forced violently himself on her.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had advised Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara to step down from his post. Meeting was held among top brass of NCP regarding this issue.

The wisest choice for Mahara was to step down and create atmosphere for impartial investigation. Morally, also it’s not ethical to stay in post after such allegation.

Though many women in Nepal have shared their stories of sexual assault, no any actions are taken against the accused. Its upshots are not as those in other countries. Recently, a journalist Rashmila Prajapati accused the former Kathmandu Mayor and Provincial Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development, Keshav Sthapit of sexual harassment. Journalist Prajapati has come ahead with story in Facebook alleging Sthapit for allegedly having sexually assaulted 15 years ago. Similarly, another journalist Ujjwala Maharjan also accused him of sexual assault through Facebook story. Though former Mayor was accused by two women, he neither resigned from posts nor any action was taken against him.

Nepali women are raising their voice against corrosive male power. But the voice isn’t getting much pizzazz as expected so that the crescendo leaves no any wiggle room for the concerned authority and organization to let it go muffled. Many Nepali women are no doubt the victim of sexual assault but they are afraid to speak because of the upshots. They fear that the accused mayn’t be punished. There are thin chances that the accused may step down on the ground of morality. All powerful persons are reigning the post on basis of link, personal relation and recommendation.

Above all, there is a fear that the rage of Nepali women, doused in the recesses of memory till now, wrapped away in swathes of fear that finally turned up in social media may be confined to themselves only. Because they fear the result. Many fear to speak due to fear of prestige too. There is a depressing side to the #MeToo cycle in Nepal. First comes the revelation, then it becomes a headlines, then the moment of reckoning and powerful men aren’t taken any action.

The law applies to all. If found guilty after investigation, he should be punished according to law. Nepal police also should carry on investigation without any fear. Mahara’s case can be one chance to uplift the image of Nepal Police and even political parties. The guilty can be determined after impartial investigation. The arrest of Mahara renders positive message among all. If this case is also ignored due to pressure in future, this creates impunity in future. It also can motivate people in power to do crimes. Mahara’s case can be the litmus test for political parties, government and the police. No- one is above the law.

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