Foreigners like Daniel Lak are responsible for creating divisions among Nepalis by distorting and exaggerating the implications of events. 'Lak in Lukla' (Here and there, #166) was a striking example. True, police atrocities and excesses are to be condemned, and I join Lak in denouncing the the way the porters in Lukla were beaten, but I cannot be so quick to conclude that only the man subjected to the lash was a janjati and the policeman belonged to non-janjati ethnic group. Is Lak dead sure that the incident he witnessed at Lukla involved a case of calculated discrimination by a non-janjati on a janjati ? Would the policeman have behaved less violently had the porter been a non-janjati fellow (belonging to the ethnic group the cop belonged to)?
My suspicion is that since the policeman there was looking for bribe money, his behaviour would not have been different. Lak based his comments on an exception. Exceptions don't make the rule. He should be careful not to instigate one group of Nepalis against another.
Solukhumbu, now in Kathmandu