NEPAL: Police culture – hit their heads, pelt them stones

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) condemns police actions involving hitting peaceful protesters from the Dalit community on their heads with batons. The police have also been involved in pelting stones at Dalit protesters, a representation of the continuation of centuries old violence and discrimination against Dalits. It seems that the police in Nepal is regressing to medieval methods, pelting stones in order to maintain peace and order in society, rather than using modern methods of crowd control practiced worldwide.

The violent crackdown on peaceful protesters has been carried out under the command of District Superintendent of Police, New Baneshwor Police Circle, Dan Bahadur Karki, Rewati Dhakal and Santosh Khadka. During the attack, there were around 150 police persons present, whereas but 100 Dalits had gathered to protest against the draft constitution. The police also arrested some protestors allegedly involved in obstructing the traffic.

AHRC-STM-129-2015-02.PNGDalit lawmakers Jitu Gautam, Man Bahadur Bishwokarma, and Daljit Shreepaili; Coordinator of the Joint Dalit Rights Struggle Committee, Prashu Ram Ramtel, former lawmaker, Binod Pahadi, and Dalit civil society members, Kamala Hemchuri, Suru Sunar, and Ganesh BK, Sahek Bishwokarma, Pushpa Badi, Rana Bahadur Ramtel, Bhadra Man Mote, Dinesh Harijan, are amongst those that have been injured in the incident. The police particularly targeted the Dalit lawmakers. Daljit Shreepaili sustained injuries to his mouth; two teeth have been shaken. Most of the protesters have received head injuries and are undergoing treatment at Civil Service Hospital, Kathmandu.

Ganesh B.K., Dalit human rights activist, sustained a two inches wound. He has been transferred to Kathmandu Model Hospital for further treatment. Durga Sob, Chairperson of the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO), was beaten black and blue mark by the police. The police were seen beating Kamala Hemchuri for over a minute and, due to that torture, she has received a severe wound to her leg.

Various Dalit organisations affiliated with 10 parties of the Constituent Assembly have called for an hour-long transportation strike, demanding that the new constitution address their demands, and guarantee their basic rights. The strike has been called from 10 to 11 am at Bijulibazaar, Kathmandu.

The government is all set to introduce the new constitution by the second week of this month, around 15-16 August. But bringing forth a constitution that curtails basic rights to Dalits, Madheshis, ethnic groups, and women, will further escalate violence in Nepal.

The AHRC has been repeatedly urging the government of Nepal to stop resorting to police brutality and to bring the unsatisfied population to the table for discussions. The government of Nepal should stop these attacks, which represent a pattern of police behavior dipped deep in the politics of violence. Basic rights of Dalits, Madheshis, members of the ethnic community and women must be guaranteed in the upcoming constitution, as they have already suffered centuries of discrimination and oppression.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-129-2015
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Administration of justice, Police negligence, Police violence, Rule of law, Torture,