From the Facebook wall of Mr. Ravi Kumar, an apparent victim of cops mistreatment and abuse of power. Mr. Kumar is founder of Code For Nepal. He and his wife Mitchell cofounded Code for Nepal, an organization aiming to increase digital literacy and use of big data in the country. To that end, they have launched nepalmap.org last year to make data on the country more accessible. Kumar has helped rebuild more than 25 schools in the remote villages of Nepal.
Last night a cop hit my arm and threatened to arrest me for taking a video in a public place in Nepal.
I was waiting for my ride in Kathmandu when I heard a traffic cop and a young man shouting at each other. A few pedestrians were watching. There were other cops too.
The young man was telling the cop to not mistreat him and follow the legal procedure. The cop started to threaten him verbally. I pulled my phone and started to take a video.
I had taken a video for a few seconds when another cop, Mr. Tamang, hit me. In his view, I was violating the law. He asked me to delete the video. I told him Nepalis laws allow people to record in public spaces. He threatened to arrest me.
I asked him if he had an arrest warrant. He said he didn’t need one. My ride came and I asked the cop if I could go. The cop said, “No” because he was going to arrest me and teach me a lesson. Another gentleman started to defend me, saying that I was within my rights to take videos in a public space. The cop then threatened to arrest that gentleman too.
I called a couple of friends to inform them about my situation. After that, I asked the cop about the legal basis for him to force us to stay on the sidewalk. He asked one of his team members to bring police warrant.
I just waited. The gentleman continued to talk to the cop, who was now arguing that I was a threat to a VIP motorcade. Since the gentleman was advocating on my behalf, he would be arrested too.
Two copies of the arrest warrant arrived and the cop asked for the name of the gentleman. I interrupted, saying we don’t need to share our personal info with the cop, as he was engaging in an illegal practice. I also thanked the cop for doing his job, but told him what he was doing was not right.
I politely asked again if he would let us go. He finally said yes.
Today I went to the police station where Mr. Tamang works. When I told a cop I wanted to file a complaint he started to lecture me on why I should not. Then he asked my name and dialed a number. After that another cop came and was very nice to me. He was an inspector who listened to me carefully. He then told me that last night I was violating a cyber crime law, apparently. The inspector invited his colleague, a cyber crime expert. We learned that the so called cyber crime law has been proposed but not passed yet. So we agreed I wasn’t violating anything.
Finally I was told that given Mr. Tamang is an inspector and the nice cop who was supposedly going to document my complaint is of the same rank, I will have to wait for Deputy Head of the Police Station to file my complaint. I told them I can’t wait because of another commitment. I thanked the cop for his time and left. Later I learned that a contact of mine had called someone higher up in the security circle and that might be one reason why I was treated nicely at the Police Station.
Overall I’m shocked by the lack of respect for the rule of law and civility Mr. Tamang had. As I kept speaking in English, he probably thought I was a foreigner. Because of my privilege, I knew I would be fine. But I worry about what happens to regular folks who are harassed like this. My hope is cops are trained and supported well, and they ought to know they are there to protect people and hold us accountable—not to misuse their power.
Have you had to face similar incident or situation, where you felt misuse of power by Nepal Police? Comment below.
Speak-Up: Say something to someone anonymously
Sometimes, reality can be too complicated, especially in a society where norms and standards are very defined based on traditional values and culture. This limits us from being straight forward to some people. Can limit us from being bold and honest and express our heart out without hesitation to certain people, especially if they are elder to us or someone with good social/financial status.
And sometimes we can’t express out, say what we need to say due to our own lack of confidence or low self esteem.
But then it’s very important to let them out and let the universe take them from there …. and miracle can happen, you never know. If nothing also, at least you will feel good; kind of sense of being relieved, sense of being in peace.
With all that thoughts, we have designed this speak-up section for you to speak your heart out anonymously. Fill the form below and leave the rest to us to play the universe.
p.s. Not to express your “romantic feeling” for your crush.
They Need Us !!
Before going for the Trek & Treat Campaign (Eye Health Screening Camp in remote areas of Nepal) I had some idea about what I would be seeing in those remote villages of Nepal. I was already aware of the fact that many remote places of Nepal are still deprived of basic health care services. I knew that the things we keep hearing on radio and televisions about people dying without getting a mere ORS solutions (Jeevan Jal) is still prevalent in many of such rural areas of Nepal. I also knew that there are many people whose blindness that can be prevented are still living their life in darkness. I always knew that there are people in those remote areas who does not have enough money to come to the city for their treatment. But is knowing things just enough?? Can we do something better than just knowing things? Hopefully we can !!
Let me tell you our journey of the first Trek & Treat Campaign. After 5 hours of hiking from RARA Lake we reached Khatyad, a remote village of Mugu District. The only means of transportation were the mules and there were no signs of proper health care centers around. We were trekking from RARA to Khaptad and Khatyad was on our way of the trekking route. We were prepared with our basic screening instruments and medicines to carry out our first screening camp at Khatyad and it was during our screening camp that I really felt upset about the health care system of our country about which I already knew before. We saw a 28 days old child who had injury in her left eye and needed immediate surgical intervention. Though the treatment of such cases are usually done at free of cost, the parents did not have enough money even to travel to the city. Sadly, the child passed away the next day without proper treatment facility in the village. Knowing things and seeing things were now completely two different things for me. After what I experienced being in that village for a couple of days made me realize that if I do not take things seriously now and work harder to solve this problem (at least the problem of eye health care service from my side) then I would be no different than other people who just know things but do nothing.
We now have dreamt of making Trek & Treat a nationwide health care campaign to reach those people who needs us. To make this happen we need help from everyone around us. Some of us here are Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Physiotherapists, Cardiologists, Writers, Photographers, Content Creators, Bloggers, Drivers, etc, etc. If we can all just spare about couple of days from our busy schedule and work together to help those in need then we can indeed make places like Khatyad a better place with better facilities.
Changes come from ourselves. Please be the change and lead others to make the change.
Travel Story: Flying across the Malaysian Sky
On 2015, January 23, we were about to board for the very flight which would change our entire life for the years to come. The sheer joy of new excitement and hard goodbyes to our families were still clouded while we were waiting for our flight.
We had our flight from Air Asia with 80 minutes transit in the airport of Malaysia. With all our fellow Nepalese brothers heading to gulf countries, we were the only one going to Australia. But none of us knew, even though the countries are different, we were about to fall into the same fate of labour.
There was a guy with his “Dillibazar Tailoring” as his backpack resting down at his feet. A pang of frustration had actually started in me already why remittance is the only major source of economy in my country.
After about two hours, right when air hostesses started checking boarding pass for the flight lunch, one of the Nepalese guys started acting strange. At first, he was talking with the air hostess, tapping his pants all over around. But soon he started checking all the hand carries rested at the top of the passengers. My husband said he could be that one of the agent bringing workers in overseas and he added he is faking to his companions as though he had boarding pass for the lunch. I gave my quick glance to the guy with that shopping bag and to that supposed agent guy.
Relying on the quick judgement of my husband, I noticed that guy with a golden ring and think chain around his neck and silver watch, indeed he was fairly dressed than other people on board. He frantically searched almost all the luggage of his clients for like fifteen minutes. Clearly, it seemed like he was just pretending it with a promise that he had had actually boarding pass for lunch to be served. Rest of the brothers were silent and were staring in each other doubting if they are getting it. Eventually, he gave up with the request of air-hostess to get back to the seat for trolleys to be run.
After 15minutes our meal arrived, and it made me partly awkward to be only passengers on a row with lunch being served especially when my fellow native brothers went on curious as air hostesses started dragging down the food trolleys.
It was almost 8:38 PM when we landed into the Malaysian Airport. We had barely 80 minutes of transit.Though there were no words of goodbyes among us, we parted our ways. We were anxiously queueing in the line when I noticed another fellow with all of his backpacks and luggage was standing after me. My husband casually told him, ” yo line Hami Australia janeharuko go, tapaiko yah bata hoina justo lagyo”
Shocked and terrified, we pointed the direction where his group headed where he quickly ran to catch them. And we ran through the corridor of Malaysian Airline for one last time to change the fate of our promised life after that flight…
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