Digital Conflict in Okhaldhunga

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Bindu Rai in conflicting scene explaining about mobile harassment, May 2013.

Mamkha, Okhaldhunga, May 2013 – Study of conventional of persons, group or inter-nations is popular. Relations between conflict and digital technology was not in headline like today in earlier days in 2012 when I started my conflict study in university. That was my beginning to seek conflict dynamics with relation of digital. I picked up following case study from my term paper in May 2013 for you. Enjoy. Think.

Chapter I – Conflict Settings

Following are actors with their Pseudonym of this case study:

Hiramaya Rai, (Mobile harassment victim), Bindu Rai (Mobile harassment victim and friend of Hiramaya), Pitamber Rai, Saru Rai, Mohan Rai, Bahini (Sister of Hiramaya Rai) Haribhaktta Rai, Sub-Inspector Tunus Karki, and two Jawans

Hiramaya Rai and Bindu Rai, 19, unmarried, female friends from Mamkha-7 has just appeared School Leaving Certificate (SLC) and struggling for new venture of career. They were very close friends. Their daily life activities were very simple and low-cost with farming and household jobs as their family’s daily life leading adventurous assignment. I found farming, alcohol making, and sales alcohol were their income generation activities. Their framework of labor hiring in farming was barter system – called MELA. Bindu Rai had to some extend wide knowledge about other technical and social issues comparing with Hiramaya though they were in same age group and seemed a lady with strong determination. She was very courageous woman revealing social issues in front of people and legitimate like police.

Saru Rai, approximately 24, was in her house (Maiti) along with her husband – Pitamber Rai, to take high school’s examination while the conflict was occurred. She was cousin of Hiramaya. She seemed simple in interaction and very nice during talk. According to victim she had dominating character and was a major character who stimulated the crisis in large scale employing her husband to do unethical mobile calls to both of victims – Hiramaya and Bindu. The role play of Saru was still under investigation for further verification.

Pitamber Rai, 24, from Lamidhada, Okhaldhunga, was a center character to discharge unethical electronics behavior to interrupt social life and sentimental values of Hiramaya and Bindu. He was just guest for village since he was in house-in-law. In Nepali culture son-in-law (Jawai) does not generally spend long time or night at house-in-law. But, in case of Pitamber Rai, he was in the village for a long days.

Mohan Rai is brother of Saru and cousin of Hiramaya. I found him very gentle in a way of talking and dealing with new people but according to police record and villagers is differed in real ground – he had sentenced to jail many times for different crimes in village. He was one of the matured persons among conflicting parties and knows soft deal with people. He was not any part of unethical mobile call but part of manhandling during conflict scene.

Tunus Karki was sub-inspector and office in-charge of Ramjhatar police station. He had handled mobile harassment case. I found him very active, social, and strategic during handling such cases. He has two daughters and elder daughter completes medical degree soon. While we are on the way of investigation of the case, he was trying to proof himself that he had invested his total property for education of his both daughters. He had expressed the matter many times during our 8 hours trip to conflicting scene.

Initiation of case investigation – During my visit to Thulo Bau, a popular name of a person, for battery charging of gadgets, I met Hiramaya and Bindu on the way talking each other about the case nearby police station. I just tried to know their case gently if in case I could help them.

Crisis background – An incident was in Mamkha-9, Okhaldhunga district. Mamkha is very remote village and population settlements are discrete in large asymmetrical hill area. It takes 4 hours on foot from Rujhatar through very rough and dangerous way. The event location is in between farm house and resident of Hiramaya nearly followed by house of Saru and Bindu. According to Bindu and Hiramaya – one day Hiramaya got many unknown calls from male voice in another side. He was Pitamber but Hiramaya was unknown of caller with fake identification. Pitamber also called Bindu too. Pitamber tried to talk about malicious (adult-content) with Bindu in phone like about – marriage, labor pain in hospital, and others. The conversation went for such moment but Bindu did not want to talk. Later both of them got missed call only and they felt harassment with unnecessary miss call and like a silent call.

Saru Rai got number of Bindu Rai using different channels of family members of Hiramaya. Youngest sister of Hiramaya unfaithfully gave number of Hiramaya to Pitamber. They were neighbors and no communication due to effects of some conflict of history. “Saru Rai dominates other”, said Bindu. Saru made missed call to Bindu time to time and once Bindu received the call and continue communication asking name and address. The male caller – Pitamber Rai – asked about Hiramaya and her work. Bindu refused of knowing Hiramaya though Hiramaya is one of best friends of Bindu. In continues communication on mobile, Pitamber leaded adult-talk such as like marriage, kids, pregnancy, labor pain in hospital, and others. Bindu repeated asking how he got her number. Pitamber made a story of finding her mobile number and told that he got the number from Indra of Lamidadha, Khotang. Pitamber did missed call to Hiramaya too. One day Bindu and Hiramaya knew the number and person who called them. He was Pitamber Rai. Bindu and Hiramaya talked and argued with Pitamber complaining mobile calls. They got conflict. Saru Rai, Pitamber Rai, Mohan Rai as one party, and Bindu, and Hiramaya from another party got conflict. There was manhandling in the conflicting scene. According to Saru Rai and Mohan Rai, they did not know mobile issue from the beginning, they – Saru and Mohan – had intervened the conflict when youngest sister of Hiramaya was exposed for sharing numbers of Bindu and Hiramaya with Pitamber. Saru and Hiramaya were cosigns and Saru and Mohan were sister and brother. During observation of conflict of mobile, Saru and Mohan always focus on what they faced in the middle of the conflict whereas the conflict has been initiated by unethical call of Pitamber. Pitamber realized his mistake immediately in front of police. But, Saru tried to dug out only matter of middle of conflict – manhandling.

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Posing for photo after conflict resolution.

Chapter II – Observation, Mediation of Conflict

It took 4 hours to reach conflicting scene, Mamkha from Rumjhatar. I and Nepali police went to conflicting scene and spent 4 hours to mediate conflict return home. Travel required 8 hours for round trip. Following is conflict that I and police mediated.

After talking with victims – Hiramaya and Bindu, I tried to contact police station of Rumjhatar for further information of actions from police and government. One of the police officers was planning for Mamkha and he called me to go with him if I was interested in the case. I and one of my colleagues – Mohan Joshi – got ready for mission of Mobile Conflict in Mamkha. We started our mission from airport side with three polices. I got them very familiar with environment and surrounding, nice and energetic dealing with problem of village. When we got to conflicting location – Mamkha, police personnel met the first party of Saru, Mohan, and Pitamber and talked about the mobile conflict and mobile harassment. The police separately talked about their yesterday’s police compliment to second party of Hiramaya and Bindu and they explained same as they shared with me yesterday.

After a while, Pitamber followed by Saru and Mohan came to join conversation and immediately Pitamber easily accept his fault of doing non-sense calls to Bindu. Before initiation of discussion of conflict with conflicting parties, sub-inspector Tunus Karki read out complaint filed by Hiramaya and Bindu. His voice was thundering while reading out the last paragraph of the complaint since there were police cases (criminal activities) of Mohan Rai. Sub Inspector Tunus Karkri could obviously read out easily the complaint written in Nepali script, but he did not; after all, Haribhaktta Rai requested to read out and he did read out loudly with clear voice.

The discussion went for more than 3 hours. Saru seemed in very aggressive mood as if they had long conflict in history and it was just a sequel of the history. But, we did not get anything of history from them. Mohan also accepted his fault of manhandling, but he was supposing to protect her younger sister – Saru in conflict. It was clear that the first was doing wrong and they are accused but still they were fighting protecting themselves that Hiramaya and Bindu fired bad words. Hiramaya and Bindu did such during tension, harassed situation, and conflict. Mohan and Pitamber were relatively silent than Saru.

Comprehensive peace agreement was made and signed by each party along with witness of villager and elders – one is Haribhaktta Rai who was formal President of VDC and seemed to be very influencer in village.

We joined hospitality of Bindi Rai, tea party in House with Pitamber and they seemed they were in peacebuilding after conflicting scene few times ago. Hiramaya and Bindu wanted to get freedom and security while they were on the way of village since Pitamber and Mohan were still little bit suspected persons for guilt. So, those points were also included into the agreement paper of conflict resolution. If anyone breaks the rule of agreement, the person might get sentence according to law.

Chapter III – Mediation

Initial entry of Haribhaktta Rai was different than others. He entered into the conflicting scene talking on mobile about official issues of VDC and DDC imposing someone to register the file and workout on the file as if he was as a legitimate. He was trying to establish his image among us as very different and politically powerful by dealing with political agenda with us. His tore and dirty clothes did not match with his image that he was, but he was one of the recognized to mediate and facilitate the conflict in the village in capacity of formal president of the VDC as he had demonstrated his skills during the conflict. He has strongly put the issue in discussion along with solution which as accepted by both conflicting parties to resolute the conflict with comprehensive peace agreement. On his warm request Pitamber Rai asked forgiveness to victims in front of witness of villager along with us and video camera. Haribhaktta Rai had though played a prominent role in conflict resolution; he was little bit soft to Mohan Rai during conflict mediating though Mohan Rai was accused for manhandling and other police cases. Both unexpressed respectful dialogues by Sub-Inspector and President of VDC to Mohan Rai was inspiring him to be stronger to defense himself.

Chapter IV – Interview with police after case resolution

The conflict was such big social conflict but according to police it was just their daily routine to resolute such conflict in villages and it is not a big issue to take a note. People quarrel each other and people come into resolution with agreement after police intervention due to extensive expensive procedures in terms of social and economic cost which were clearly exposed during conflict mediation by police in Mamkha. The conflicting parties may, in future; raise another conflicting issue taking an issue of this conflict but the magnitude of the conflict will not be bigger and social disaster. Police is an actor of mediator to resolute the conflict facilitating conflicting parties. A police officer stated bigger landscape of respect of rules and regulation within Nepal police stating police’s prompt response and activities taken by police for the conflict that we were on the way.

Chapter V – Cost of Conflict

Digital conflict rendering social activities in rural area like Mamkha had vividly portrayed cost of conflict in terms of economic and social. Cost of economics is though possible to calculate social cost bored by conflicting parties is not sill possible to quantify in number. However, structural story and dialogues of their pain and psychological condition like stress, and which enforced them to file their complaint in police station. Social cost can be measure in terms of their psychological conditions, time, effects and changes of social activities after conflict, network cost and opportunities.

This is an example of thousand of digital conflict upcoming with complexity demanding hi-take understanding to resolute the conflict between individual, group and inter-nations. That’s I had started to explore digital conflict earlier 2012 when most people did not believe digital conflict exist and it was in least priority of conflict studies. It has nowadays gained public attention nowadays and we must seek digital fortress for digital conflict in future.
Video of research work including mobile conflict:

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