Ex-Bal Mandir Employee, Student Held On Rape Charge
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police arrested a former NCO student and a former NCO employee - identified
as Rabin Chalise and Rabin Shrestha respectively - after three minor girls living in NCO´s Naxal orphanage, also known as Nepal
Bal Mandir, complained about being sexually exploited.
SP Pitambar Adhikari, spokesperson for the CIB, confirmed the arrest of Chalise and Shrestha but refused to divulge details.
"Both are now in our custody for investigations," said Adhikari. "But, we are not yet in a position to divulge any details."
A team of CIB officials had arrested the two on Tuesday. The same day, the CIB, in coordination with the Central Child Welfare
Board (CCWB), shifted the three minor girls to a safe house run by some other NGO. All three girls are believed to be below 15
years of age. They say they had been facing exploitation for a long time but mustered the courage to speak up only recently.
Subash Pokharel, general secretary of NCO, however, maintained that none of the girls living in any Bal Mandir orphanage has
had to be rescued in recent weeks. "All the girls are with us," he said. He also claimed that neither Chalishe nor Shrestha are
associated with the NCO. "I don´t know what ties they had with NCO in the past," he said. "They are currently not affiliated with
us. Whether they had any ties with the NCO in the past makes no difference. Whatever they do should not be linked with us."
However, sources said that Chalishe is chairman of a club of former NCO students and enjoyed easy access to the Bal Mandir
orphanages. As for Pokharel´s denial of rescue of the three minor girls, a CIB official involved in the investigation said that the
girls are officially still with NCO. "They have been shifted just for the time being," said the official. "We did it considering the
possibility that their continuing stay at the same orphanage might affect our investigations in some way."
The CIB swung into action after Action for Child Rights International (ACRI), an NGO, drew police attention to the matter. In a
statement issued on Friday, ACRI said that initial investigations and medical evidence were strong enough ground for the police
to arrest Chalishe and Shrestha.