Feminist activists stage powerful ‘mock funeral’ after rape and murder of teen

A young girl was carried through the streets of Nepal in a mock funeral protest following the rape and strangulation of a teen who disappeared on her way back from school.

Hundreds of angry protesters gathered in Kathmandu, the capital city, after 17-year-old Bhagirathi Bhatta was found dead on Friday February 5.

The 17-year-old was declared missing a day before by her parents who said she failed to return home from school.

Her body was discovered in a gorge near her village in the Baitadi district and initial evidence shows the girl was raped and then strangled.

According to a spokesman of the Sudurpaschim Police, Senior Superintendent of Police, Mukesh Kumar Singh, suspects are being questioned.

In a powerful display, demonstrators dressed in white mourning clothes carried a young woman on a bamboo stretcher through Kathmandu, the capital city.

Only her face and a bindi could be seen and she was covered with an orange cloth.

The protest follows a rise in sexual assault cases in the country, prompting thousands to put "pressure" on the government to find the alleged culprit.

Rekha Thapa, who was at the march, reportedly said: "We are here to challenge and pressure the government.

"The murderer has to be brought out to the streets, has to be punished."

The government have also been accused of not taking action in rape cases after a video emerged of police allegedly destroying evidence.

Leading the protest, Anoushka Pandey said: "Next to none have received justice.

  • Woman, 36, gang-raped to death by group of six as teens charged with murder

"If tomorrow something happens to me or somebody I love and care about, who is going to be accountable? Who is going to give us justice? For all of these answers I am here."

In 2020, 2,100 rape cases were reported in Nepal, up from fewer than 1,000 in 2015.

Activists believe the number of cases may be higher as many assaults go unreported.

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