It was later revealed that Maina was electrocuted to death on the same night as retribution for her mother Devi’s vocal criticism of the Army’s involvement in the murder of her niece, Reena Rasaili, accused of being a Maoist supporter.
Under pressure from international rights groups, the Army set up a court of inquiry to investigate the incident and the accused Colonel Bobby Khatri, Captain Sunil Prasad Adhikari and Amit Pun were sentenced to six months imprisonment, fined Rs50,000 and faced a ban on future promotions.
But Devi did not think the punishment was commensurate with the crime and filed a case in the civil court. During this time, with help from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), Maina’s body was exhumed from Panchkhal barracks.
On 16 April 2017, after a thirteen-year-long legal battle, the District Court Kavre found three army officers guilty of murdering Maina but they have not been arrested or punished.
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In her letter, Devi has questioned the existence of two commissions set up to investigate war crimes, the Disappearance Commission and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that have little to show in the way of delivering transitional justice.
In fact, successive governments made up of former enemies the state has used the commissions to do their bidding and cover up their war crimes. Moreover, the Supreme Court’s order to amend the Transitional Justice Act mechanism is yet to be implemented.
‘Dear Prime Minister, I have promised my daughter that unless I bring those perpetrators to justice, I won’t rest. The remains of my daughter are still in the Teaching Hospital, and I am not able to perform her last rituals pending the implementation of the court’s decision,’ concludes the letter. ‘I am waiting to see your commitment to protecting victims instead of perpetrators and respecting court orders to ensure the rule of law in the country.’