Municipal officer suspended after being caught on video thrashing womanA video that has gone viral on social media shows municipal police officials brutally beating a woman in Rukum West’s Aathbiskot Muncipality.
On Thursday, Rukum West's Aathbiskot Municipality suspended Nirmala BK, a municipal officer who was seen beating 21-year-old Neha Bista in a video widely shared on social media.
According to District Police Office Chief Thag Bahadur KC, the municipality took the decision in the wake of widespread criticism on social media after the video began to circulate online on Wednesday.
“A three-member team led by Inspector Kabiraj Roka is currently in the field, trying to figure out what happened. They are taking statements from witnesses as well as police personnel,” said KC. “However, we were unable to reach Bista in order to provide counseling.”
According to KC, the footage was recorded at the municipal police office when municipal officers, who are not police personnel, were trying to detain the woman. The woman, who appears to be distraught, is repeatedly struck by sticks and kicks aimed by BK. At one point, the woman is seen trying to flee but her way is blocked and she is contained again.
According to district police, the footage is from an incident that took place nearly two months ago. But criticism on social media had placed pressure on the authorities to look into the matter, said officials.
On March 20, Bista, who was returning from Jajarkot to the municipality, was stopped by health workers for a Covid-19 test. Bista, who was allegedly drunk, did not cooperate with health worker Dolam Malla and used abusive language towards her and the personnel in attendance, said Inspector Kabiraj Rokaya, information officer at the District Police Office.
Soon after the incident, Malla filed a complaint at the Aathbiskot Area Police Office. A team of five personnel, including BK, the female officer in the video, arrested her for indecent behaviour, which is when the video was filmed. A Covid-19 test was conducted on her and she was handed over to her sister the next day, March 21, with a warning when the test came back negative.
Many on social media had accused the municipal officers for using excessive force against the woman.
“This...brutality under the uniform is despicable,” said one social media user, saying that officers in uniform were abusing their power and needed to be held accountable.
There have been numerous similar incidents in the past where police have been caught on camera employing excessive force against protesters, bystanders and those they are trying to take into custody.
Further investigation in the case is underway and disciplinary action will be taken after a final report, reads a statement issued by the municipality.