On a Friday evening, 6th May, 2022, Ranjan Karki (name changed) was enjoying a night out dancing with his friends in a popular nightclub in Thamel, Kathmandu. All of a sudden he was whisked away, and dragged out of the club. In the process he remembers receiving a punch, or two. He asked the bouncers the reason for him being thrown out, but they simply asked him to leave the premise.
Ashamed, he returned home, without even bothering to call his friends. Till date, he does not go out clubbing.
Similarly, in another instance Paras Gurung (name changed) remembers fooling around with his friends inside a club, which bouncers mistook for aggravated behaviour. He was beaten up before being thrown out of the club. His face swollen, his eyes black and blue, he could not gather the courage to return home fearing his parents’ reaction. He took refuge at his friend’s place for a week until his bruises healed.
In both instances, the victims did not go to the police to make a complaint.
Two weeks ago, on a Friday night again, another young person was beaten up. This time, he took the courageous step of returning home, and discussing the incident with his family. The family decided to take legal action.
They filed an FIR, citing manslaughter. Police officials and the family members watched CCTV footage of the time of the incident, which according to the victim’s family corroborate the victim’s stance that he was not showing any indecent or untoward behavior. The family is insistent that unnecessary violence was used, which could have caused long term consequences, or at the worst case, a fatality. The club and its bouncers maintain he was thrown out following protocol, which the family denies, stating that he was choked and held to the ground for a time longer than necessary (half an hour).
Images of violence on the victim’s face and body do suggest unnecessary violence was used. An investigation is ongoing, and the victim’s family is hopeful justice will be served. Nevertheless, the situation demands better awareness amongst youth when faced with such acts of violence.
“We always ask women to be safe when at clubs, but such acts prove that men, especially young boys are at risk too”, the victim’s sister shares with Aawaaj News. “My brother is a basketball player. What if his legs underwent permanent injury?” she adds.
Speaking to District Superintendent of Police Durga Prasad Dahal, who is also the chief of Sorhakhutte Police Station, he has encouraged such victims to come forward and report such actions:
“If Nepal Police does not have the authority to raise hands on criminals, how can bouncers have any right to do so? If anyone is faced with such violent behaviours, they should report the action, and we will take necessary legal actions”, he says encouraging people to speak up.
Bouncers, by law, are not allowed to resort to violence, unless when breaking up fights, or acting in interest of self-protection. They are simply allowed to restrain a person using special tactics which they are trained to perform. However, at no point of time, can violence be used during the act of restraining.
As per Advocate Ashankan Malla, “According to Section 191 of the Country Penal (Criminal) Code, when caused bodily harm or hurt (kutpit), the victim should file a case at the respective district court – either the victim’s place of residence, or where the incident took place. If proven guilty, the person can be sentenced up to a period of three years, or be fined Rs 30,000.”
Similarly, he also adds that if such actions are of a grievous nature, i.e. the victim’s sensory organs are impaired, or the act causes a physical disability, the victim must file an FIR, and seek legal action. During such situations, the perpetrator can be imprisoned for up to ten years, or be fined NRS 100,000.
Similarly, victims can also claim compensation from the offender and the state via the Crime Victim Protection Act.