Indian monk charged with murder in NepalFebruary 25th, 2010 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Feb 25 (IANS) Nepal’s police have formally charged an Indian monk belonging to the renowned Bharat Sevashram Sangh order with murder following the death of a six-year-old boy who was entrusted to the care of the home and school run by the organisation in Kathmandu.
Swami Atmashuddhananda, the 40-year-old monk from Assam who had made Nepal his home for the last 15 years, was Wednesday formally charged with the murder of Rupesh Giri in the ashram, along with four others.
They include two other students of the same school, who are around 15.
Inspector Govind Ram Pariyar, who is investigating the death of the boy, said even though the Indian monk apparently had no role in the death, he had been arrested and charged in accordance with Nepal’s law.
“Now the court will decide if the monk is innocent or guilty,” Pariyar told IANS.
One of the two boys arrested with the monk told police during questioning that he had thrashed Rupesh Monday night for sleeping in his bed.
When the sobbing Rupesh went to the bathroom, he reportedly said he hit the boy again.
Rupesh was found dead Tuesday morning. Though it was a case of accidental manslaughter, the monk was reportedly fearful of the adverse publicity it could generate and tried to make it look as if Rupesh had fallen ill.
An employee of the ashram, Sharan Koirala, was asked to take the boy to the nearby hospital but the doctors there pronounced him dead.
Doctors at the Om Hospital also reported it as a suspicious death after seeing the bruises on the boy’s body.
Consequently, the monk, Koirala and three others, including two students, were arrested Tuesday.
All five have been charged with murder.
Following the arrests, the school run by the ashram at Gaurighat, close to the Pashupatinath temple, was closed. However, the ashram is still open.
It houses about 60 children, most of whom are from low-income households. Rupesh was brought to the ashram a little over a month ago by his mother, who works as a cleaner in a local hotel, so that he could receive some education.
Though Bharat Sevashram Sangh is a renowned name in India for social service and has branches in Bangladesh, the US, Britain and Fiji, it had to change its name to Pranavananda Ashram in Nepal out of deference to anti-India sentiments.
Pranavananda was the founder of the order in 1917.
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