11-year-old Lapka was arrested for the theft of a gold ring in Kavre, Nepal after an astrologer named the child the culprit.
In police custody Lakpa was beaten with sticks and pipes, and electrocuted by police officers in an ordeal that lasted over an hour. His parents were forced to sign a confession and made to promise to return the money for the ring. Lakpa’s injuries were so bad he was unable to walk.
News of what the police had done spread quickly through the town. People were angry; they came out against the police and tension rose.
Some of the townspeople took Lakpa to YAPE’s office nearby. After hearing what was happening, YAPE quickly sprung into action. They organised a press conference, and brought together the Kavre District Child Welfare Committee, representatives of human rights organisations and different political parties, and locals. YAPE asked the police to hold meetings in the District Police Office in the presence of all concerned, and journalists.
The respect YAPE has in the community and their extensive contacts meant they could bring together the people best placed to put pressure on the police and resolve the conflict quickly. Soon after YAPE became involved the Deputy Superintendent committed to prosecuting the police officer responsible.
YAPE’s swift intervention meant that the local community did not take matters into their own hands; preventing a potentially explosive situation spiralling out of control.
Lakpa has been taken to Kathmandu for treatment while human rights activists are taking steps to ensure those guilty of his mistreatment are held to justice.