Nepali police often ignore many incidents of injustice and oppression against the Dalit community stigmatized as ‘untouchables’. After King Mahendra legally banned the social practice of caste untouchability in 1965, the state was able to claim that Nepal officially recognizes the Dalits as human beings. However, the Dalits have not yet achieved a human status even after 44 years of the legal ban on this inhuman practice.
So-called high caste people treat Dalits as ‘animals’ even in the 21st century characterized by globalization and cyber connectivity. This racism more or less exists throughout Nepal. Almost five million Nepali Dalits today live a life far worse than the African blacks did during the apartheid period in South Africa.
When so-called high caste people beat or torture Dalits, the victims cannot but expect more misbehavior and torture not only by the concerned oppressors but also by the police mechanisms set up for the equal protection of citizens.
As the state in Nepal has not been able to protect Dalits by legally punishing oppressors, Dalits generally tend not to report their cases. If they report their cases, they face further suppression by their oppressors backed up by state apparatuses.
Political forces, for their own causes, use the Dalits as mere tools.
While the major political parties and cabinet members have been tirelessly trumpeting about human rights, equality and inclusive democracy, local police in Kathmandu has felt proud of being successful in dismissing an information report about a murder attempt.
Krishna Mijar, a local resident of Matatirtha village in Kathmandu district was coming back home from one of his relatives in Lalitpur on the evening of December 18. His neighbor Bhairab Pant and his youngest son Yekdiswor Pant at about 19:30 assaulted Krishna so terribly that he had to be rushed to hospital.
Krishna’s wife and a few of her neighbors took Krishna to the government-run Bir Hospital in Kathmandu. Bir Hospital sent Krishna back home by administering only some painkiller.
Krishna complained of severe and persistent pain throughout the night. On the next morning (December 19) Krishna’s wife and her relatives took him to Kathmandu Model Hospital that referred him on December 20 to Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital for intensive treatment.
The ultrasonography of the painful side in the victim’s body showed a splenic rupture and blood clots. Doctors recommended the splenectomy.
The proposed surgery was performed on Krishna on December 22. After an 11-day hospitalization, the hospital discharged him.
According to Krishna, the victim, the sudden physical assault on him by his neighbor Bhairab Pant was an apparent murder attempt. His wife Dhana Mijar tried to file a case with police with a hope of taking action against the oppressor. But the police stations at Matatirtha and at Balambu refused to accept such a report. They instead forced both Krishna and his wife to remain satisfied with a few thousand rupees that the oppressor paid due to the pressure by other neighbors sympathizing with the victim.
Villagers directly named one police assistant called Rudra Bhusal as someone protecting the oppressor. They suspect the police assistant for some sort of unethical compromise with the oppressor. Earlier, Bhusal ‘discouraged’ victim’s wife while she sought justice with the help of police, villagers say.
Krishna, a freelance worker, now fears that he may not be able to earn his bread due to the possible after-effects of the surgical removal of his spleen from the body.
“We are poor and don’t have links to power. So, what can we do now?” Krishna’s wife Dhana wonders.
Police Sub-Inspector at Balambu Police Station Surya Prasad Acharya feels proud when he was able to make victim Krishna and his oppressor Bhairab sign in a tolerance document. Amidst Krishna’s few neighbors who gathered in the courtyard of Balambu Police Station, Acharya says, “From now on, both of you don’t fight. You should live harmoniously.” He meant that it was the case of physical battle. He did not want to accept the truth that Krishna was the victim of the sudden one-sided assault intended to murder or injure him for life.
Krishna, who lost his body’s internal organ, sighed deeply with a psychological torture beyond description while oppressor Bhairab Pant felt triumphant as he was neither arrested for legal actions nor made to compensate for the loss that Krishna had to bear.
Earlier, oppressor Bhairab Pant refused to take any responsibility for the assault though he admittedly even went to hospital and paid some treatment expenses. While Pant was refusing to sign in any document that would make him compensate or face any punishment, police assistants were assuring him of full relief.
The justice seekers were more demoralized and humiliated after the police mechanism took such a murder attempt in a kidding and irresponsible manner.
Thus, Nepal appears thousands of miles behind in the context of justice to victims. State mechanisms have so far maintained their tendency of further victimizing victims. This strongly protected tendency cannot but institutionalize the culture of impunity that aggravates the pre-existing man-eat-man culture.