Residents of Kingarabten in Trongsa are disturbed after the gruesome murder of a woman and her grandson. We come across such crimes only in the movies. But it has happened, here at home, in a small rural community.
The motive is not clear, but from the trail left behind, it seems to be money. This is more disturbing. We have been saying that it is increasingly becoming unsafe in Bhutan, touted to be one of the safest places in the world. Not anymore. The crime rate is increasing and gruesome crimes are happening.
We are reading more news of cold-blooded murders. We have a taxi driver murdered, a man killing his friend and then throwing him off the building to make it look like an accident. An expat engineer was stabbed to death not long ago.
Such gruesome crimes generally happen in urban areas. And we believe that most are driven by greed or drug abuse – all related to the ills of urbanisation and also development. Kingarabten is a fairly rural place. The news of the murder will shock many.
Without experts, it will be difficult to point out why we are seeing gruesome crimes happen occasionally. Three cold-blooded murders in six months is a cause of huge concern considering our small population and that we are believed to be a peace loving people.
Maybe, we are convinced of a false belief. The notion that hardcore crime doesn’t exist in the country is a thing of the past. In fact, for a small country like ours, we could say it is becoming rampant. What could be true is that we are largely a carefree society. We talk about the incident for a few days and forget it.
Murder, especially cold-blooded ones get the attention of the media and the government for days, even weeks. And the one that happened in Kingarabten can compete with the most gruesome crimes, anywhere. Perhaps we are taking it lightly.
A trainee guide was asked how he would respond if a tourist asked him about the crime rate in Bhutan. The prompt response, in an American accent was, “not much, a few murders, rapes and robberies in a year”. This could scare a tourist. But the innocent answer depicts the way we respond to crime, no matter how severe they may be.
Preventing crime will be a challenge. A lot of things lead to it – drugs, frustration, unemployment, consumerism and urbanisation, to name a few. If there is a way to get to the root cause of it, it would be a huge achievement.