By Om Tat Sat,
To expect fairness and justice from Nepal police is a big mistake. When the police made popular singer Aastha Raut appear in front of the CDO, they asked her to be locked up for 7 days for investigation.
For what? Arguing with the airport police personnel who showed no civility or politeness?
When Astha shared her displeasure in social media, the police leaked the footage of the incident too. No one offered to explain how the police footage was leaked, which in itself is never done. Is that not an unjust move in itself?
As Ms. Raut has explained, the female police doing the security check was pretty rude. Did she have to really ask for her jacket to be taken off? As the situation in Nepal goes, travel by air is much more stressful than the road. For one, the flights are always delayed. Sometimes, the planes have to spend long time in queue on the tarmac for other flights to take off. For a popular artist who has to travel a lot, it can come as a shock to have been treated like a criminal at the airport security.
Any sane person could lose her mind after such disrespect, especially someone who might have built an ego of being a “celebrity.” In Nepal, it does not really take too much to make a celebrity. It is another matter if they are actually worth being considered as celebrities. They have name recognition for sure, but are they worth being social leaders whose opinion really matter in shaping sound social decisions? So, placing any emphasis on such personalities should be troublesome. However, in Astha Raut’s case, she does tend to establish herself as a woman with enough common sense to do self analysis and seek to rectify the error she committed.
Personally, I had not heard her name when the social media splashed the news. It was only after I learned that she had sung a popular song, which is quite meaningful and enthused with nationalistic sentiments of southern belles of Nepal. Having heard song and approved of the message in it, I respected Astha Raut as a thoughtful person. It gave validity to her complaint against the police, since I have watched police in action very closely, and understood Aastha’s chagrin.
Some opinion leaders have actually faulted Nepal’s culture of patrimony for mistreatment of the singer. Rightly pointed out, women are expected to behave in more submissive manner and accept mistreatment. Women are more scrutinized for their speech, clothing and the way they carry themselves. It does not take much for women to be labeled negatively, and portrayed in an unflattering way.
As far as my personal experience goes regarding the Nepal police, I have no good experience with them. I am more likely to believe Astha’s account than the police woman in question. Yes, they are generally very rude, and treat ordinary citizens unfairly. They show absolutely no inclination to make sure that innocent people might be locked up. Just remember the 12 day custody of someone responsible and visible like Ravi Lamichhane, the media personality fighting against the corrupt forces in Nepal.
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It was surprising to learn that the police woman in the security post actually filed a complaint against the singer alleging misconduct, while her own language was anything but. Ironically, the maximum sentence could have been a year imprisonment and 10 thousand fine. Had there not been an outcry against the excesses of the police, Astha would not have been released on Rs four thousand bail.
What is to be noted is that police has been tainted for their involvement in criminal activities such as sexual abuse, bribery, smuggling of drugs and gold, abduction and ransom, plotting murder, organized crimes of various sorts, tax evasion and such. The Rising Nepal daily on February 4th further reported “According to the records of Nepal Police Headquarters, 1,800 police personnel faced various actions during the fiscal year 2018/19 and 249 were sacked. In the last five years, 10,511 police employees faced different actions with 1,453 being sacked.”
Given the background of the two feuding parties, it is not hard to conclude that Nepal police does not have culture of respecting Nepalis, nor work with the motto of respecting people’s rights to prevent innocent people being put in custody or incarcerated. Nepal police works with the belief that their power gives them the right to detain or abuse people.
The writer is a graduate of Arizona State University in Political Science. He is working as a social activist and motivational speaker for students across Nepal since 2007.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necesarily reflect the official policy or position of Nepalisite.