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Three women detained for battery and libel

Paro police has arrested three women after the video of a woman slapping and abusing another woman went viral on WeChat and Facebook.

The incident happened on February 5 at one of the resorts in Paro where the victim works.

The resort owner along with the victim filed the complaint on February 12. The next day, police arrested the women, the one who slapped the resort employee, the one who filmed the video and the one who was witnessing the abuse. They are aged 36, 31, and 28 and live in Thimphu. The three were called to Paro and detained.

A police official said that for now the case was booked under battery and libel. “We are investigating the case and if the alleged suspects are liable for some other sections of the law, then they will be charged accordingly.”

The resort owner said he was not in the country when the incident happened. “I came to know about it only after I saw the video being circulated on WeChat, three days after I returned home.”

He said he had filed the complaint because the incident happened in his property and the victim was his employee. “When the incident happened, she was on duty and it is my responsibility to protect my staff.”

He said the alleged suspects’ could have an issue with the victim but they cannot just walk into somebody’s workplace, beat her and then post the video online.

“It is my responsibility to protect my employee and it was important for me to take action because it is about the security of my employees and also of my customers. I don’t want such an incident to happen again.”

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women and Children’s director Kunzang Lhamu told Kuensel that the commission was concerned about the mental stress of the victim which would require immediate psychosocial support. “We have informed Paro police to refer the victim if any such support is needed for her.”

The commission also informed the police to help the victim receive counseling service via their helpline 1098.

According to the commission, the suspects could be charged on battery, harassment and libel.

Section 158 of the Penal Code of Bhutan states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of battery if the defendant purposely uses physical force of an adverse nature on another person.

Section 462 states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of harassment if the defendant engages in a course of conduct that places a person in reasonable fear of emotional or mental distress, while according to section 320, a defendant is guilty of the offence of libel if he or she defames another person through the means of writing, drawing, or photographing.

Dechen Tshomo 

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