Kathmandu, January 21
Popular Nepali singer Astha Raut criticised Nepal Police on Wednesday saying its low ranking officials misbehaved with general public, while they bowed down to high ranking officers.
She vented her ire at Nepal Police through a Facebook video following a row at Tribhuvan International Airport with a lady constable during security check.
She claimed that the lady constable had used abusive and demeaning words during the security check.
Soon after her video became viral on Facebook, many took to social media supporting Raut.
After examining the video, Nepal Police concluded that she had used indecent language. Charging her of using abusive words against police, an arrest warrant has been issued against her.
The kind of support Raut has got from social media users reflects general public’s attitude towards police. Commenting on the video, a Facebook user named Dhurba Dai writes, “Aastha’s video was an act of courageous revolution, while police action was a sheer insult to their ‘Police My Friend’ campaign.”
Nepal Police has, in the last few years, launched various campaigns and programmes to regain its lost image and credibility.
One among of those campaign is ‘Police My Friend’, launched in July 2016. But Raut’s case has compelled police to rethink effectiveness of its programmes.
Police administrations has been claiming its campaign, ‘Police My Friend’ a grand success, but the huge support won by Raut shows that Nepal Police has utterly failed to regain people’s trust. Another Facebook user Bikram Rai accused Nepal Police of acting timidly in the case of former prince Paras Shah, who had also misbehaved with a police staffer at the same airport, a few months back. He said the incident had exposed double standard of Nepal Police.
Following the 2016 ‘Police My Friend’ campaign, Nepal Police had launched two more programmes, ‘Service with Smile’ in May-2017 and ‘Community-Police Partnership’ in October-2018, in a bid strengthen police-public relation and increase credibility of the police. Many people, however, complain that police personnel, specially low-ranking officials treat them rudely.
Srijana Tamang, a bachelor’s student at a college in Kathmandu said, “Although most of the traffic police personnel these days don’t use derogatory words, a few of them still use abusive language while talking to public.”
Security experts believe that low-ranking police personnel’s rude behaviour with the general public was the result of increasing frustration and dissatisfaction with their high-ranking officials.
This claim can be backed by the fact that as many as 1,207 police personnel below the rank of Police Inspector quit their jobs in less than six months starting mid-July to December end last year.
Six police inspectors and two deputy superintendent of police had resigned in same period. As many as 5,637 police personnel had resigned in the fiscal 2018- 19 and 2017-18. Former assistant inspector general Bigyan Raj Sharma said, “Majority of police personnel, who directly deal with the public are low-ranking officials, but unfortunately there has been increasing job dissatisfaction among them, which often results in rude behaviour with the public.”
Sharma pointed out that lack of proper pay and promotion, excessive workload and lack of time to be with family members were common causes for increasing frustration and job dissatisfaction among low-ranking police personnel.
Nepal Police, however, rejected these claims. Deputy Inspector General Shailesh Thapa Kshetri, spokesperson for Nepal Police, said, “Many police personnel quit their jobs as they get better options. Our professional index and evaluation has shown that police personnel have been dealing more professionally with the public in recent years.”
A version of this article appears in print on January 22, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.