Police hit 67-year-old with baton for stepping out to buy milkMan sustains a broken bone in his right leg due to the severity of the blow.
On Sunday morning, 67-year-old Nagendra Patel, a retired employee of Nepal Telecom in Birgunj Metropolis-16, was on his way to a nearby grocery store to buy milk. A grandfather to two children, Patel goes out for milk every morning.
Somewhere between National Medical College and Naya Bus Park, police stopped Patel and interrogated him. They asked him to return to where he had come from.
Patel turned around to go back home when one of the police personnel hit him on his right leg with a baton. Those gathered nearby, watching the incident unfold, helped Patel get up from where he had fallen and carried him to his house.
Patel couldn’t stand upright, so at 8am on Sunday, Gunjan, Patel’s son, took him to the National Medical College. Doctors there took an X-ray of his injured leg and plastered it. “The bone in my right leg below the knee is cracked. Doctors have asked me to keep the plaster for three months,” Patel told the Post.
Bhola Shah, who runs Ramayan Hotel in Birgunj-16, was one of the witnesses to the incident; he had helped Patel reach home that morning. “Patel is an acquaintance. After the police hit him, he fell to the ground and couldn’t get up. We carried him home,” he said.
Gunjan went to Naya Bus Park to the personnel deployed at a temporary police post with questions about the incident. “But when I asked them, they said it was the Tiger team who beat up my father,” said Gunjan.
The Tiger team under the District Police Office was formed to control smuggling, theft and other unlawful activities during the lockdown in Birgunj.
“There was no argument; they asked me to return and I was doing just that,” said Patel. “But they charged me from behind.”
Bijaya Shahi, the sub-inspector in charge of the temporary police post, said, “The victim has not come to us with a complaint. But I have been inquiring about the details of the incident.”
According to Shahi, personnel from the Area Police Office in Shreepur and the District Police Office in Birgunj also conduct frequent patrols in the city areas.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and amid ongoing nationwide lockdown, police have been drawn into controversy for responding to the crisis with increasingly draconian measures. On Monday, Naya Patrika daily reported an incident involving a man who faced harassment at the hands of police. According to the report, the man, who was tending to his ill wife at Bir Hospital, was stopped in Kalimati and asked to strip down his shirt.
On Friday, Parsa District Crisis Management Centre allowed police to open fire against those who flee the quarantine and isolation centres in the district. The decision was revoked later in the evening with rights activists decrying the move as “utterly wrong.”