Nepal suicides: Who are they, where did they come from?
May 10, 2007 - 1:35:32 PM

Kathmandu, May 10 - The police of India and Nepal are hunting to unearth the identity and address of a couple who apparently died of a suicide pact in Nepal.

Ten days after the discovery of the bodies of a young man and woman in remote Manang district in northern Nepal, the police of both countries have not been able to trace the victims' families, giving rise to speculation that they might have tried to hide their identities.

On April 29, a search party in Manang discovered the bodies of the young pair who had checked into the Manang Trekkers' Holiday Hotel two days ago.

While signing the hotel register, the young man had called himself Chander Prakash, a 25-year-old accountant from ward 10, Thaper College, Patiala in Punjab, while his companion had given her name as Neelu Devi, a 24-year-old housewife.

The pair was travelling light, carrying just one bag, and on arrival had refused offers by the hotel to provide them with a porter.

When they did not return on the night of April 28, the hotel raised an alarm and a police search led to the discovery of the bodies in a forested area.

According to the police report, an empty bottle of pesticide lay near the body along with a diary. The diary contained two notes in Hindi, both signed by Chander Prakash, that said nobody was responsible for their deaths.

'If someone finds our bodies, please cremate them,' the short note said.

The police are baffled by the absence of any other paper or documents. Though they were initially regarded as Indian citizens on the basis of what they had told the hotel and because they were speaking in Hindi, now there is a question mark over that since Patiala police failed to locate either victim's families at the given address.

The college, too, has said it did not have a student or employee answering to Chander Prakash's description.

The young man was wearing a blue jacket and a yellow T-shirt and had a prominent scar on his forehead while the woman, dressed in a salwar-kurta, had a black mole on her chin.

While foul play can't be ruled out, it could also be a love affair gone sour, feel locals.

Besides the suicide notes, the diary contained love poems in Hindi, signed by 'Renu' and 'Veenu'. They also mention a place - Bharatpur - and the Rajasthan police are said to be conducting a search in the north Indian city.

Police are also baffled by the effort the couple took to commit suicide, if it was a suicide pact.

Manang is not the usual tourist destination but chosen by only hardcore trekkers. The couple, who apparently came by road, entered Lamjung district on April 23 from where they arrived at the Koto police check post of Manang on April 26.

Prior to that, they are thought to have visited Kathmandu and Pokhara.

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