Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue
The parents of two boys on January 25 woke up to witness a video of their sons engaging in a fist fight in front of an audience of seven adults.
The video, which was recorded on January 24 in Baelangdra, Wangdue, had gone viral on various social media platforms overnight. The video shows two boys, aged 5 and 6 years, throwing punches at each other. Both end up in tears.
Onlookers don’t stop the fight. The man recording the video starts commenting and also encourages the minors to fight amid laughter.
“I felt really bad for my son when I first saw it. Then I was worried if the fight had caused any serious damage to the child,” father of the 5-year-old boy, Gyem Phub said.
Both parents were unaware of the incident until the local leaders informed them of it on January 25.
Wandgue Police took suo moto action as the video went viral on various social media platforms. Investigation began on January 25 as soon as the police learned of the video.
Kuensel learnt that around six individuals had already been called for interrogation.
“If not for the police and the local leaders, we wouldn’t have known of this. I was working on the farm and didn’t know of it,” Gyem Phuntsho, father of the 6-year-old boy said.
Gyem Phub said that after work, he had broken for lunch when his son had gone to the shop to buy a soft drink. “The incident took place near the shop.”
The parents took them to Bajo Hospital. Reports showed that they have not sustained major injuries.
The families were from Baeldo, a highland chiwog in Kazhi gewog. Many families reside in Baelangdra during winter to escape the harsh weather of Baeldo.
Among the onlookers were six male adults and a 17-year-old. A shop owner was nearby but didn’t notice the incident. Apart from a taxi driver and two shopkeepers who are from Baelangdra, the rest including the man who filmed the incident are from Baeldo were aged between 23 and 54 years old.
While all were neighbours, a few were also relatives of the two children.
“They are my friends but I couldn’t understand what they were really thinking,” Gyem Phuntsho said. “All of them are old enough to understand the situation and the law. They should be dealt with according to the law.”
According to the Penal Code of Bhutan, a person shall be guilty of the offence of endangerment of a child, if the defendant engages in a conduct that would injure the physical or mental condition of a child.
The offence is graded as a petty misdemeanour and a misdemeanour if aggravated circumstance is present. The prison term for petty misdemeanour ranges between one month and one year. If convicted of a misdemeanour, the prison term ranges between one year and three years.
With the surfacing of the video, there have been debates in the chiwogs, Baelangdra and Baeldo, over the usage of social media app and the lack of knowledge on law over the past few days.
Baeldo tshogpa Phub Tashi said that while a majority of people said that the onlookers—those encouraging the fight and the man who made the video should be punished according to law, others pointed out that many must have been unaware of the consequences of their action.
“I have always advised the people in my chiwog through our group chat to not share videos of anyone. In the past, they would share videos of people singing, or playing,” Phub Tashi said.
The incident had happened despite continuous advice and this might come as a lesson to the people, he added.
The tshogpa said that almost all people in Baeldo were illiterate and had only recently started using smartphones.
The case is still under investigation.