EDITORIAL: Policing the police

The way the local administration is pursuing the Raut case – apparently in favour of the police – seems to send ominous signals around

The Kathmandu District Administration Office (KDAO) on Sunday issued an arrest warrant against pop singer Astha Raut, on charges of misbehaving with a policewoman at the Tribhuvan International Airport the other day. She was flying to Bhadrapur on her way to take part in a musical event in India when the incident took place. Police Constable Ramita Shrestha, on duty at the domestic terminal, filed a case against Raut, accusing the singer of ‘indecent behaviour’. According to Kathmandu Chief District Officer Janakraj Dahal the arrest warrant was issued in response to the case filed by the police constable. Issuance of an arrest warrant without thorough investigation into the incident sounds ridiculous. It is learnt that the local administration has instructed the police to proceed with an investigation amounting to “strong punishment” under Section 118 of the Criminal Code Act, 2017. That means if the pop singer is found guilty of misbehaving with the policewoman on duty, she can be imprisoned for one year or fined Rs 10,000 or both.

The way the local administration is pursuing the Rautcase – apparently in favour of the police – seems to send ominous signals around. It will be yet another example of how the legal provisions can be misused to silence the citizens. Country’s leading legal luminaries believe that the singer did not commit an offence attracting Section 118 of the Criminal Code. According to them, she can, however, be warned in writing against repeating the same mistake in the future. The police deliberately leaked, through the social media, a CCTV footage showing Shrestha asking Raut to take off her coat for scanning before crossing the biometric gate. The leak was only meant to influence the public opinion against the singer. The police should only have produced the visuals as evidence before the competent authority of court when demanded. Raut, upon landing at Bhadrapur airport, accused the policewoman on her Facebook page of addressing her in an insulting manner. Later, she took to her Facebook page to explain that her comments were not ‘against the police and security forces’.  The singing sensation’s course correction failed to appease the police. Sending a citizen behind the bar for a minor offence is simply atrocious.

True that the police personnel spend several hours on duty day in, day out to ensure that the common citizenry is safe, but their dealings with commoners are notoriously rough, provocative and harassing. Many times the way the police personnel behave draw strong reactions from the public. This could probably be the case this time around. The general public hopes the police will do some introspection, some soul-searching to improve their ways and not just take pride in acts of intimidation. The state should maintain restraint while dealing with such minor issues. It may also be recalled that it was the KDAO had freed 122 Chinese nationals after imposing a fine of Rs 1,000 to each of them on charges of “indecent behaviour” before their deportation to China. If this is taken as a yardstick the same district administration office should refrain from ordering the police to seek harsh punishment against the pop singer for a similar offence.

Diabetes in children

A record at Kanti Children’s Hospital shows that 27 children were found to be suffering from diabetes in the fiscal 2017-2018. The number of children visiting the hospital with diabetes reached 29 in the fiscal 2018-2019. At least six per cent of children visiting the endocrine out-patient department are found to be suffering from diabetes. Lack of understanding about the disease, changing lifestyle, consumption of sugary drinks and food, junk food items and obesity are to blame for diabetes in children.

Though children are found to be suffering from diabetes, many parents are not aware of its symptoms. Many children are brought to the hospital when the level of blood sugar goes too low. It too can lead to morbidity in some children, as per the doctors. There is a need of awareness about the possible signs of diabetes in order to get timely treatment, while doctors have suggested that parents encourage their kids for self-care. The parents can discourage them from spending more time in electronic gadgets rather than playing outdoor games that demand physical activities. Also, it is necessary to provide them with balanced diet, instead of high intake of sugary and junk food, for their healthy growth and development.