Monday, September 26, 2005

Police brutality and threats to Blue Diamond Society

On the night of September 24 2005, Thamel, the tourist area of Kathmandu, a number of Metis (effeminate males) and gay men were hanging around the streets next to Himalayan Java Café. As often happens, a few Policemen in civilian dress came to abuse the metis, trying to make some money and having free sex.

One policeman named Nava Raj Adhikari, started abusing a young meti, Puspa (21 years old), by burning his cigarette on her hands, forcefully putting his hand on her private parts and asking her to come with him for sex. Puspa refused and tried to avoid him but he became more violent and pulled her hair and slapped her. When the other metis saw the man (policeman) being heavy handed with Puspa, they rushed to help her.

Initially, the Metis were successful in chasing the policeman away. But after a while, the policeman, Nava Raj came back with more friends and started beating two other metis, Sanjaya (about 25 years old ) and Suntali (about 21 years old). Suntali was hit hard on the waist by a stone thrown by the policemen. Both Sanjaya and Suntali then ran away.

Then the policeman with more of his friends started beating other metis. The metis also threw stones back at the policemen. Two more Metis, Neema and Umesh, were injured and the policeman - Nava Raj - was also injured on his head. The policemen become more violent and started brutally chasing more metis.

Then they caught Kala Rai, a meti in her mid 20s. The policemen beat her with boots and fists and dragged her to the Durbar Marg Police Station, next to the Royal Palace. Nava Raj accused Kala Rai of hitting him with a stone.

Then more policemen from Durbar Marg were mobilized to abuse more metis. Three policemen in uniform came by a
taxi no 1816 to Thamel and beat another meti - Rabi. She was badly injured on her leg, hands and backside when the policemen beat her with sticks and boots. In Durbar Marg Police station, Kala Rai was kept for one day and asked to pay Nepali rupees 1800 to compensate the policeman, Nava Raj, otherwise, she was threatened to be jailed for 6 moths and to pay a fine up to Nepali rupees 28,000 on a public offence charge. Poor Kala Rai (who is living with her already compromised immune system), became scared and agreed to pay as much as she could. Yesterday evening, 25th September, she was released after she paid Nepali rupees 1000 with the support from BDS members.

During the day (25 the September 2005), Blue Diamond Society called the National Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Cell of the Nepal Police to come and monitor/report the case. Both of them refused by saying 'it seems to be a fight between a meti gang and a Police gang' and they couldn't get involved. FWLD's lawyer Rup Narayan Shrestha came to help at the Durbar Marg Police Station and suggested "It's better for Kala to compromise with the police as her position in this case is too weak and police can twist the case around to give Kala more trouble."

Last week, I was excited to send the Nepal draft LGBT Charter around the world for support and solidarity. However, I now realize that the draft Charter is not clear enough in its fundamental thinking - that is: "There is no rule of law in Nepal for sexual/gender minorities and there is no legal institution that is ready to stand with us whenever we are in crisis. Compromise seems to be the 'watchword' - but that leads nowhere in this situation.

We have recently been warned by a few 'friendly' junior Policemen who are partners of metis of the Nepal Police's policy against metis and Blue Diamond Society: "high level Police officials believe in cracking down on the root of this social and cultural pollution from society now, otherwise it will be ou of their hands."

Sunil B Pant
Blue Diamond Society
Kathmandu, Nepal


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