Nepali Times
Predator state



Sita went to Saudi Arabia to work as a domestic three years ago. An agent in Pokhara found her a job, got her tickets via Delhi, and organised a passport in someone else's name.

When she returned to Kathmandu in November, the 20-year-old from Bhojpur was arrested for possessing a fake passport at immigration. Then her ordeal began: not from abusive employers in the Gulf but from Nepali immigration and police.

After being threatened with detention by immigration officials at Kathmandu airport, and scared of being jailed and bringing dishonour to her family, Sita admitted her true identity. During the interrogation at the immigration office in Kalikasthan police constable Parsuram Basnet agreed to help her out only if she gave him a part of the 9,500 Riyal (Rs 222,624) she had saved while working abroad. When she refused, the officials snatched her bag and took her money, saying it was for "high-ranking officials". Then she was asked to sign a blank piece of paper by immigration official, Somnath Khanal, who said if she told anyone what had happened he would throw her in jail.

Meanwhile, Basnet was busy playing good cop and offered to get her a ticket to Bhojpur. He took her to Basnet Lodge at Old Bus Park and raped her repeatedly through the night. "He almost strangled me to death when I screamed for help," says Sita, who only remembers being smothered with a pillow and passing out. In the morning, her purse was open, with her remaining money also gone. Basnet then put her on a bus to Bhojpur and gave her his contact number. He kept calling her over the next month, pressuring her to marry him.

Ashamed, Sita didn't speak about her ordeal until she broke down one day and told her sister everything. Her family was outraged and filed a complaint against Basnet and Khanal on 16 December. Says Sita's father: "We don't care about getting the money back, all we want is justice for my daughter."

A report submitted by a probe panel formed under the Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday accuses immigration officials Ram Prasad Koirala, Tika Pokhrel, Somnath Khanal and Parsuram Basnet for the robbery. The senior immigration officials have been suspended for two months, while Basnet is in jail. The Home Secretary said this week all the accused would be punished under the Civil Servant Act 1993, but Sita's family wants Basnet to be charged for a criminal offence.

Sita has just found out she is pregnant, and doesn't want to keep her child. Sita wears a blue embroidered scarf and peers out of a small window in her rented room in Balaju, and gives her young nephew a dazzling, dimpled smile. She sees us to the door, and says: "Now, I just wish they get punished for what they did to me."

Sita left her home in Bhojpur five years ago, worked at a restaurant in Pokhara before she left for Saudi Arabia after an agent gave her a passport belonging to Bimala KC and sent her to Delhi. In Saudi Arabia, she was abused by her employers.

"They treated me like an animal," recalls Sita, "not just the house owners but even their children used to beat me mercilessly." When her employer tried to rape her, she escaped and got another job in a household where the employers were kinder. She saved enough to send presents home, and at the end of three years decided to come back to Nepal with her savings.

Sita's case would probably have been forgotten if her cousin hadn't caught Basnet and taken him to the police station at Hanuman Dhoka. "Had Sita told us what had happened earlier, maybe the guilty would have been punished by now," says the cousin, who runs a tea shop near Balaju.

Basnet reportedly tried to stop Sita from filing a case, and even offered to return the money. Sita is now searching for counselling and assistance, in the fight for justice and hopes to get back on her feet.

Sita's name has been changed.

Read also:
Predator state

See also:
Police don't arrest rapists in the eastern Tarai, they give in to local pressure and marry them off to their victims

"I wanted to murder whoever did this to my daughter"

1. Ambika
Hats off to Nepali Times for the story last week on the rape epidemic in the Tarai and this one on the despicable outrage committed by the immigration and police at Kathmandu airport. Let us all help this woman and others like her find their footing in society and overcome the trauma they endured. And in the long term, let us push for a government that gives its citizens options at home so they don't have to migrate for work.

2. Soph
Always knew that the immigration officials and policemen on duty at the airprot were crooks. But didn't know they were also rapists. What next, that they murder passengers?

3. Mexx Nepali
After painful years of foreign stay as an imprisonment sort of life one is excited and happy flying back home but suddnly everything turns into worst nightmare of  life on the arrival at  the immigration of the home airport  because our own countrymen  harrasses ,cheats , abuses and inflicts maximum damage they can!!!! That's the psychology all the Nepalis working abroad have about our immigration at the international Airport. The pain and the psychological destruction this individual has gone through is unimaginable. Our heart and prayers are with here at this painful moment.There are so many Sitas in our societies who are the victim of this corrupt system at TIA. Actually this is the story of thousand of immigrants who leave the country in search of work to provide bread and butter to their loved ones and family back home. It is soo pathetic that the country which is dependent  on remittance treats its bread winnen sooo miserably!!! TIA is really really rotting!!! It reflects the country's reputation to the outer world!! Get rid of swindllers and thugs out of there and put some hospitable staff!!! Will that be too much to expect from the government of our country!! On arrival home we expect to feel safe and sound but not be cheated and harrassed by our own country men !!!!     

4. R Rai
Sita dared speak and her family chose to fight. It is highly likely that there have been several(if not many)others who chose to keep quiet. Those low- lives involved in this crime must be brought to justice.

Also,we must seriously reconsider allowing women to work in Arabian countries where so-called humans treat poor women like animals.

5. Uncle-Eti
Being French, I go to Nepal when I can afford it. I have interest in Nepal culture and Tibetan Culture. Since I am trying to learn to speak nepali, last time I went to sit, during transit in Barhain among Nepali workers. Some of them were so sad and tired. I discussed a bit and I understood some Nepali workers there work with no day off, from the first to the last day they stay in Muslim Gulf countries. Thinking that after that some jealous, ill-minded custom officers try to abuse them make me really sick.
Otherwise some seem happy but all this is too randomly. There should be regulation and more respect from local authorities for Nepali embassy!

6. Krishna S.

This is just a tip of the iceberg of a huge underlying problem that is faced by the returning migrant communitiy and how they are welcomed by their fellow compatriots. The act of the immigration officials and cops has to be brought under justice.

On a more broader issue, let's think about how, We, as a little more privilaged member of the society view these men and women who are keeping the national economy afloat and helping to put bread on our tables. Do we feel empathetic about their plight in the sandpit?  Or feel ashamed when we see them cleaning the washroom everytime we transit in Doha or try to disassociate from them when they are  snarled by the irritated flight attandants?

The behavior of these gatekeepers at home is just an extention of this widesread attitude and hope to get away from their horrendous act of crime.

Please bring more of these stories under the daylight, NT.

7. Tashi Lama
This is a very tragic and sad story of a Nepali women returning home after a three years hard work and mistreatment from her employer, and than worse happened in her own country Nepal. This story is similar to that of a medical student being raped and tortured, except with the physical injuries, they are same category. But mentally Sita suffered a lot, which is unseen but very sad and painful experience. After the rape incident of a 23 year old medical student in Delhi, thousands took to the streets, protesting against the government to punish those culprits, protest is still going on and the victim today died in Singapore hospital, but still the protest hasn't stopped yet to get the justice done and the stricter laws to be enforced and sever punishment on all the rapist.

 I wonder why the Nepalese are not protesting against the government to enforce stricter laws on such cases of rape and looting, all these culprits should be labelled as criminals and should be punished severely. I think Sita's case is just a tips from the iceberg as one rightfully commented, there are many such cases like that of Sita's but who choose to remain silent and these crook officials got used to it by waiting upon chances on such innocents, like a wolf pouncing upon a lone sheep. I am optimistic that these shameless police and immigration officials are used to it with many such victims on their web, these crook officials will never stop this crime until and unless Nepalese people rise against it to enforce very strict laws and severe punishments on those culprits.

We have to understand and think on Sita's tragic case in such a way: Oh! One day it could be my sister, my wife or even my mother! I wonder why Nepalese only come to streets only on mere political or on price rise matters? Does the Sita's rape and loot case doesn't hurt the Nepalese sentiments?    

8. Raju Adhikari

When there is poor governance and political instability, it becomes a breeding ground for crime to perpetuate and people sufferings  are no one's concern. At least our judiciary system is working to an extent and may deter people committing such heinous inhumane crimes if they are able to punish such offenders.

9. Pawang Gurung

In bahun dominated bureaucracy, there is not much you can expect. look. You need structural changes at every level.  Everything is tainted so bad that this has to happen in order to bring awareness.

I get angry looking at these custom official at the airport. I wish I can punch them before taking off. You can tell them from distance that they will abuse their authorities.


10. charlie
what you expect if you elect those killer and rapist and terrorist send in parliament to rule the country, stop fucking them to  parliament then there will be good people in every sercetor of nepali administration and i belive one day there will no more terrorists in nepal adminnistrative.

11. Bob
Book or movie?

12. Mohan Das Tandan
Let this DON called Vijaya  Gachhedar resign on this  moral issue and set an example.
 Thus he can absolve himself of all his wrong doings.

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(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)