On this losar eve, back dropped against the many stabbing cases in the country, I decided to spend the night with the patrol team of the Royal Bhutan Police.
As a rookie reporter assigned the crime beat, I thought I should learn first hand the hardships our police personnel have to go through, especially when dealing with crime. And what better night than our own New Year eve, where men and women would come out, drink, enjoy and possibly get into trouble with the law.
As expected, hundreds of young men and women, like streams from lonely mountains joining a river, joined their friends into the many bars, hotels and clubs in Thimphu.
Led by 15 police officers, more than 100 men in blue literally flooded the city for the night patrolling. The day was an extra burden for many policemen who would have wanted to spend their losar time with family members. And moreover, it was cold. Policemen I talked to said, the shift from 10pm to 1am is really tough, even for those experienced ones. It’s the time when sober human beings have a natural dip to fade into sleep.
For many policemen, those not really accustomed with the late night beat, what added to their woe was the sight of the young people rushing with all energy to party halls. I hope those party freaks who don’t mind picking a fight with the policemen after being drunk would consider that they are also human beings, who would like to party or have a nice time. Still, that night, there were a few gang fights and other petty crimes committed by those under the influence of alcohol.
A young boy was stabbed that night. While the police went looking for the suspects, I met his parents at around 11pm at the Thimphu hospital. They were worried. Life is not going to be the same for the boy.
My impression on party nights and the policemen who keep a close watch on party goers is also not going to be the same anymore.