Police misbehaviour with citizens under scanner, thanks to social mediaNew video showing police caning a woman in Nuwakot goes viral on social media.
On Tuesday, a video clip showing a policeman caning a woman went viral on social media, sparking criticism, once again, over excessive use of force by police against civilians during the pandemic.
The video, which was originally posted on the social media app TikTok on Monday, was also shared on Twitter and Facebook drawing widespread condemnation of the police action.
In the video, a woman can be heard questioning the policeman if the government has authorized him to charge batons. And immediately after this the policeman gives her a thrashing with a cane hectoring, “Go away.” Then the policeman tells the woman to go to the police station if she has any complaints after which the woman asks if he had the authority to hit her with the stick. The policeman retorts, “Yes.”
According to Senior Superintendent of Police, Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, who is also the Nepal Police spokesperson, the incident took place in Nuwakot district on Monday when the policeman was heading for the woman’s home after receiving complaints from villagers about frequent fights between the woman and her husband. “After their recent fight, the husband was hospitalized and the police had gone for an investigation,” said Kunwar.
“The officer should have taken a female officer with him and dealt with the woman,” said Kunwar. “After conducting an investigation, action would be taken against the officer.”
After watching the 24-second clip, many people on social media condemned the police action.
“Maybe not all police personnel would be like him, but there is some problem in their basic training. They need to shed the mentality that they have the right to beat up civilians immediately after donning the police uniform,” wrote a Twitter user.
“Another example that shows majority of policemen don’t deserve any respect from THE COMMON PEOPLE ! She has the right to question ! Appropriate action needs to be taken against that policeman who misused his authority for physical violence against woman!,” wrote another twitter user.
Barely a week ago, in a similar incident, a policeman was caught on camera assaulting a civilian. An employee at a surgical supplies store in Birgunj was assaulted by Deputy Superintendent of Police Prahlad Karki.
The video clip of Karki kicking Ahamad was shared on various social media platforms triggering a widespread condemnation of the action. After the incident, the Province 2 Police Office had formed a three-member team led by Superintendent of Police Krishna Prasai to investigate the incident.
Even last year, after the government enforced a nationwide lockdown on March 24 to prevent the spread of Covid-19, numerous images and video clips of Nepal Police personnel using excessive force against lockdown violators were shared on social media. From assaulting a man on a bicycle to beating up doctors who were returning to their quarters, police had used force unnecessarily and in excess while enforcing the lockdown.
According to Kunwar police personnel should not use force against civilians unless extremely necessary.
“Police personnel found using excessive force can be suspended and even laid off,” Kunwar told the Post. “Acknowledging the problem of aggressive behaviour among our officers, we have been training them to behave in a polite and respectful manner with everyone.”
According to Kunwar, even now thousands of officers are enforcing the prohibitory orders and they have been instructed to interrogate the persons found violating the restrictions and avoid physical action. “Rather than taking physical action, we have told our officers to either detain the rule violators or to fine them as per law.”
According to Nepal Police, in the last 24 hours 511 people were fined a total of Rs95,100 for defying the prohibitory orders while 4, 381 people were detained.
According to former Deputy Inspector General Hemanta Malla, Nepal Police using excessive force on civilians is not a new issue but unlike in the past such incidents become public now because everyone uses social media.
According to Malla, such incidents happen because many police officers after donning the uniform wrongly think they are more superior than the ordinary citizens.
“Not only this, the individual character of officers also has an effect on their behaviour. Similarly, due to overwork and the stress related to family and work could also have a role in their aggressive behaviour,” Malla told the Post.
However Malla believes that such incidents have declined compared to the past as everyone now has a camera [smartphone] in their hand and they can easily film police wrongdoings and post such clips on social media.
Meanwhile, Nepal Police has urged the general public to contact it on the toll-free numbers 100 or 01-4412780 or 9851283273, or call the police spokesperson on 9851292111, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone has any complaint against police.