The struggle committee formed by the kin and well-wishers of the missing Chhori Maiya Maharjan displayed on Tuesday signatures collected in the past three weeks of its peaceful protest.
The signature campaign was aimed at pressing the government and the police to carry out a rigorous investigation in order to trace the whereabouts of the 51-year-old woman who has been missing since February 28 at the earliest.
According to Chhori Maiya’s daughter Sudha, they were able to collect more than 100,000 signatures in a couple of weeks. “We are seeking appointments with the President and the prime minister to hand over the signatures,” she said. The campaign is also a symbolic dissent over the police “impotence” in dealing with the case, said Sudha. Their plan to enforce a vehicular blockade at Ratnapark from 5 to 6 pm on Tuesday was foiled by the police.
Referring to the release of Surakshya Singh aka Nikki, the prime suspect, from police custody in the early days of investigation, Sudha claimed that the purely criminal case was given political colour. Police investigation has revealed that Nikki had borrowed Rs 5 million from Chhori Maiya. According to her family, she had gone to visit Nikki’s Baneshwor residence on February 28. Maharjan and Nikki are learnt to have known each other for two decades.
“In the early days of investigation, police had assured us that Nikki was undoubtedly the mastermind behind Mum’s disappearance,” said Sudha. “We were also told that she would return in a few days.”
According to her, the suspect’s release and the police failure to trace her whereabouts had something to do with Nikki’s strong political contacts. “She is the younger sister of renowned businessman Dipak Malhotra, who has close links with Home Minster Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar,” said Sudha.