Niharika Rajput, a rape survivor, and single mother has launched a new round of struggle to seek justice for herself.
Rajput attempted to immolate herself in front of the President’s Office yesterday afternoon in an attempt to draw the attention of authorities. Police stopped her as soon as she poured petrol on her body.
Earlier this week, she was arrested in front of the Supreme Court for demonstrating in a restricted area.
A few months ago, Rajput staged a hunger strike in Kathmandu before being asked to end it by authorities, who assured her that her demand would be met. She is protesting now, two months later, claiming that no progress has been made.
The Story of Niharika Rajput
Niharika Rajput of Mahottari was in grade 11 a few years ago. She went to her friend’s house to finish her homework, as usual, one day. A trap was set against her while she was doing her homework. She was completely unaware.
After a few moments, the friend’s brother arrived with food. Rajput ate them without hesitation, and she became unconscious. She was shocked to see herself when she opened her eyes later.
She discovered she had been raped. Her body was not in normal working order. This incident made headlines in 2077. Shiva Raj Shrestha of Janakpur, according to Rajput, committed the crime and even recorded a video of it.
She returned home following the incident. She informed her family of the incident. But she received no help from them. “The family thought their prestige was more important than the incident,” Niharika Rajput says.
She then decided to pursue legal action. 14 days after the incident, she went to the police station to file a complaint. However, she was also mistreated in the police station while filing the complaint.
Niharika Rajput’s legal action was not easy. Shrestha, the alleged perpetrator, began blackmailing her based on obscene photos and videos he had of her. He began threatening to make them public.
She went to the police station several times. Meanwhile, she had a medical examination to prove she had been raped. However, it revealed something even more significant: her pregnancy. Following that, she resisted pressure from all sides to have an abortion.
“Even my family put pressured on me,” she says.
हे मेरा देश का अन्धो तथा मौन सरकार!!!कृपया Neharika Rajput लाई न्याय देऊ! आज Niharika लाई न्याय दिएन भने यस्ताे घटना तथा अपराध बढ्दै जान्छ र यो घटना पनि indirect रूपमा हेर्ने हो भने निर्मला पन्तले न्याय न पाएरै दोहोरिएको छ@SherBDeuba 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/mjP0ETYUPe— Prabin kumar (@PrabinKumarMan2) August 12, 2022
Immense Love for the Child
The person whom Niharika loves the most is also the living evidence of the crime; her child.
Niharika Rajput, who is demanding justice, says, “The child in the womb is innocent even if it is the result of rape; the real culprit is the rapist. I’ve grown even stronger since becoming pregnant.”
When the family began to put pressure on her, she left and denied aborting her unborn child. Her love for the child strengthened her even more than before. During her pregnancy, she continued to fight the legal battle. Perpetrator Shrestha even threatened to kill her if she did not give in to abortion. But, she did not.
She gave birth to the child on Bhadra 5, 2077.
If there is rule of law in the country then justice must prevail in the case of Niharika Rajput and the perpetrator of such heinous crime punished stringently. Stop violence against women. pic.twitter.com/HIGLsKU6Tn— Dil Bahadur Pakwal (@dil_pakwal) August 13, 2022
On Magh 24, 2078, Shrestha was declared innocent by the district court. Niharika Rajput lost the case in court, but it made no difference to her. She then decided to go to the Supreme Court. But she was also ignored there. Her case is yet to be heard in the Janakpur High Court.
She moved to Kathmandu after feeling threatened in her home district. Because her case is not getting any progress, she has decided to resume her struggle on the streets.
Justice delayed is justice denied. The case of Niharika Rajput needs to be examined thoroughly and judgement pronounced at the earliest. Her demands are just and no complications involved in it. Save Niharika from inflicting self immolation.— Dil Bahadur Pakwal (@dil_pakwal) August 12, 2022
“I have reached out to everyone’s door, but none of them provided me with justice. My son has not even had a DNA test. The district court has mentioned that the sexual activity was done with consent,” she said.
Even though she reached a five-point agreement with the government regarding her strike, her demands have not been fulfilled yet. The accused is roaming freely, and she is struggling for her rights.
The agreement includes DNA tests of children, an initiative through the Home Minister for financial support of victims, and take an initiative to make state bodies victim-friendly. She broke her strike by accepting juice from Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand.#niharika#nepwave pic.twitter.com/rS6XtIf9vj— Nepwave (@Nepwavebydgs) June 17, 2022
Actress Karishma Manandhar had said that she wants to ‘adopt’ Niharika Rajput and her son. She mentioned that she wanted to raise Niharika’s 21-month-old son born as a result of the rape in a status posted on the social network Facebook.
However, her latest Facebook post are being targeted against Niharika. She seems to have changed her mind. Posting some very personal pictures of Niharika and a boy (probably the accused Shrestha), she said “I am sorry to support the case without knowing the truth.”
In the post, she indirectly suggested that Niharika should back out from the case as she is trying to show that the incident occurred on consent. “How can I believe after seeing these pictures?” she added.
“Did you get attention? Hope the truth comes out, we are not ATM machines,” she said indirectly targeting Niharika after she tried to burn herself.