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Provoking The Public Backlash

Issue June 2019

Provoking The Public Backlash

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The current cabinet ministers had been very successful to provoke the common folks into protests rather than doing some beneficial work. They had been very smart to deliver nice provocative speeches rather than persuading the folks on the streets to keep the traffic going, and honoring and respecting their rights to free speech and expression, and freely and peacefully protesting against those things they thought were not right. The prime minister had been the man of honor speaking high-sounding things but making a little real thing that would be really beneficial to common folks. Probably, all ministers including the prime minister must have taken the oath of speaking nothing but truth if not, they had to take it again.


Let us take up the recent event of firing the water cannon at the demonstrators peacefully protesting against the new bill the Minister for Land Management: Padma Aryal had introduced in the House of Representatives on ending the current Guthi Sansthan provoking the folks that had been concerned with preserving the ancient culture and religion into protesting against the bill. The folks had been saying that the new bill on eliminating the Guthi Sansthan would certainly destroy the cultural heritage, as the source of revenue for running various cultural events would dry up. Some experts said that the bill Minister Padma Aryal introduced had been entirely for benefiting the governing political party cadres, as the ownership of the Guthi land would be transferred to the party-cadre farmers denying the revenue to run the religious and cultural events.


Minister Padma Aryal said that the new bill introduced in the House had been for the benefits of the cultural heritage and for running the religious and cultural events smoothly, as if the entire populace did not know how to read the bill. Padma Aryal would be better informed if she were to check even a portion of the bill posted in the social media that she had introduced, and then she would surely understand what it really had said. Now, the question is if what the minister had said were the facts then why she could not persuade those folks coming out openly on the streets against the bill saying it would entirely wipe out the cultural heritage and discontinue the religious events not to protest as the bill was in their interest, too.


Nepalis had been living in the republican democratic regime in which the folks in power needed to convince the common folks of what they were doing were really for the benefits of the common folks. The powerful folks should not use any force if they were really for staying in power for long time otherwise they had to go without question in the next elections because the voters would never reelect such incompetent folks next time.


Dr Ajaya Kranti Shakya: the lawmaker of the provincial legislature of province number three said that the new bill on ending the Guthi Sansthan was the creation of the land mafia in collusion with the corrupt bureaucrats, and if the bill was passed as it was then the entire Guthi system would see its end; and the cultural heritage that had been built up since the Licchavi period would vanish, the news posted on stated on June 12, 2019. Minister for land Management Padma Aryal needed to clarify this matter.


Speaking at the National Assembly on June 10, 2019, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa boldly said that anybody violating law would be prosecuted. That was right and he should do it properly and for all the cases happening in the country. Now let us see what the minister had said was really the truth or not.


First, the folks demonstrating at the Mandala in Kathmandu on June 9, 2019 were peaceful and they did not have anything except for the placards and the posters demanding to annul the bill on eliminating the Guthi Sansthan because it went against the constitution. Folks watching the videos posted on the social media, would see how the police had fired the water cannon at the peaceful protestors.


The home minister had charged the peaceful protestors with violating the law blocking the traffic, and throwing the stones at the police. If the minister had watched the videos widely posted on the social media the minister would surely see what had happened and whether the demonstrators had thrown the stones on the police or not. Whoever had provided such wrong information on the incidents to the minister that had happened at Mandala on Sunday, June 9, 2019, probably must be a liar, and misinformed the minister. So, the minister needed to take actions against such a person providing wrong information to the minister if the minister were to follow the law and order, and enforce the rule of law.


If the minister were really to follow the rule of law probably he would surely not charge the folks with violating the law for peacefully demonstrating against the Bill they did not want to see it passed rather he would order the police to convince the folks demonstrating peacefully of the need for respecting the law otherwise would be subject to legal actions. Without any attempt on applying peaceful means of tackling the situation the home minister had created a provocative situation taking hard line to indiscriminately firing the water cannon at the protestors and arresting some of them saying that they had obstructed the traffic, and they had thrown stones at the police.


Who brought the stones to throw at the police when the protestors had nothing except for the posters and placards? If there were stones then the hired people probably by the home ministry must have brought them. Is it not the home minister accountable to run the traffic smoothly or run the country smoothly and keep the people secured, and respect the rights of the common folks to the peaceful demonstration?


Recently, when the so-called Biplav Maoists announced the Nepal shutdown, all the schools were closed because the folks knew that Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa probably could not make sure that the school children could go home safely causing the schools to close for the day when Biplav ruled the country for a day. Many folks stayed home on that day when the Biplav declared that the country would be shut down. Even in Kathmandu only a few vehicles plied on the streets on that faithful day fearing that the Biplav cadre might cause damage to them.


What Minister Thapa did seemed to nothing to ease the shutdown called by Biplav. Probably, he could send the police to ask the school owners why they closed the schools on the order of the Biplav, and probably he could charge them with violating the law for closing the schools for a day; he could tell the public that the folks were safe on the streets and at their work, and if the police could not provide them with the security and if any damage were done to any vehicles and the folks then he would compensate them for the damages done to their vehicles and them, too. To my knowledge, nothing had come from the mouth of the home minister to this end.


Then, the rape and death of Nirmala Panta was known to the world that the case had been of an attempt on covering up the atrocity done to the young beautiful lady but the culprit had not be made public so far.


So, the conclusion was that probably the home minister could easily charge the peaceful demonstrators at Mandala with violating the law whereas somebody smarter ordered to shut down the country and raped a young nice lady, then, it seemed that the home minister neither could keep the country opened up for the smooth unhindered lives of the common folks nor really could challenge the opponents to stop the ordering of the shutdown of the country, and arrest the real perpetrators of rape and death of a young lady so far to the satisfaction of the parents of the victim of the rape and death, and of the human rights activists.


In these circumstances, did the home minister morally bound to remain in the job of requiring the so important and powerful function to perform; would not he be better off to quit the job for someone to run the country as it should be in the democratic republican system?


Speaking in the House on June 10, 2019, the opposition Nepali Congress lawmaker Bal Krishna Khand said that the government needed to explain why it applied such a police force against the peaceful demonstrators protesting against the new bill on ending the Guthi; he went on saying that the government had sold the Tundikhel, and no room for peaceful demonstration at Ratna Park; and the government had introduced the new bill going against the constitution; and told the House Speaker the opposition would put the House proceedings on hold until the government take out the bill on indiscriminately terminating the Guthi that had been for running the cultural and religious events.


The opposition lawmakers belonging to Rastriya Janata Party (RJP) joined the NC lawmakers demanding the withdrawal of the Bill on ending the Guthi Sansthan, as the guthis had played an important role in preserving the culture and religions, the news posted on stated on June 12, 2019.


Save Nepa Valley Movement, Valley Road-widening Victims’ Struggle Committee, Save Heritage Campaign and others had been protesting against the new bill on annihilating the Guthi. The struggle went on, and it might be taking up a motion, and even some of them had been raising the voice of ending this ruthless regime.


Dr Baburam Bhattarai as a finance minister made a decision on not providing the resources for running the Indra Jatra, and the concerned folks fought against such a decision on the streets for a week and got back what they had been receiving since thousands of years ago. This unwise decision alone had heavily damaged the reputation of the Maoists. Since then they had been going down hill.


Destroying the cultural heritage had been probably one of the main features of the communists. Probably, Minister Padma Aryal introducing the bill on destroying the Guthi and Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa suppressing the protestors against the Bill had been again on the forefront to finish off the cultural heritage while supporting the import of foreign culture and religion the prime minister had been indulged in receiving honorary Ph.D., and cash award. However, the common folks would not let them do so, and the opposition in the parliament, too. Surely, the opposition would cash in such a favorable environment the ministers had been creating knowingly or unknowingly.


Mind it, probably everybody including the two ministers in question must have seen the current situation of Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who as a finance minister had caused so much of troubles to the folks engaged in the preservation of the cultural heritage, and then as a prime minister bulldozed the houses of the poor folks in the Kathmandu city in the name of widening the roads. The same fate might be waiting for those ministers who had been going against the people’s spirit.


Another minister for communications and information technology that had been provoking the reporters had been Gokul Prasad Baskota introducing a media bill to replace the current Nepal Press Act the Nepali Congress while in power introduced to make the press freedom a reality and the reporters could write and publish without any fear of getting punished for what they had written and published.


Reporters across the country launched the protests against the media bill that had been for heavily curbing the freedom of expression that had been provided by the constitution. Reporters on the streets and the opposition in the parliament had been demanding to take out such an unconstitutional bill introduced in the House. However, Minister for Communications Baskota said that he would not withdraw it no matter what would happen.


Gyanendra Shahi had been arrested for voicing against the corruption, and tortured charging him with the cyber crime. If anybody watching the video posted on the social media and listening to what Shahi had said would understand how far the home minister and the communication minister had gone to be intolerable to the searching and finding of corruption. Were these ministers serving the corrupt people repressing the independent investigators rather than the people, who had been paying for their remuneration and luxurious cars and even the lifestyle they had adopted after getting the ministerial jobs?


Again, probably, the ministers had no guts to stand up to the freedom of press and the investigation into corruption. Freedom of press would give an opportunity to find out all the evils going on in the State machinery. Probably, the minister for communications must have deliberately cut down the freedom of expression so that the evils prevailing in the administration would not exposed to the public. So, the communists as all other autocratic rulers were probably for only the media that would simply sing the songs in praise of the people in power.


What Gyanendra Shahi had said that the police had tortured him was true then why the home minister so fond of talking about the rule of law did not take actions against the police that had indiscriminately charged the sovereign man with the cyber crime and tortured him going against the rule of law. If what Shahi had told was a lie then why the home minister did not take actions against him for the misinformation. Is it the rule of law that the two-thirds majority political party had been running in the so beautiful country?


The news posted on stated on June 11, 2019 that the Federation of Nepali Journalists announced its third phase of protests against the draconian Media Council Bill introduced in the Parliament. The Nepal Media Council Bill has it that a fine of up to one million rupees could be imposed on media outlets, editors, publishers and journalists if they were to damage someone’s reputation in the media following the violation of the code of conduct.


If the Bill were to pass into a law then a committee formed under the secretary to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology would recommend someone for the chairperson of Nepal Media Council, which meant the Nepal Media Council would be functioning just like a branch of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.


While the concerned stakeholders had been on the streets protesting against the Bill on ending the Guthi Sansthan, and the Media Council Bill that would virtually end the freedom of expression and that would put reporters in jail or force them to pay hefty fines for minute mistakes in reporting, Chairman of Nepal Communist Party Prachanda said at an event held in Chitwan that both the bills would be amended following the consultations with the respective stakeholders, the news posted on stated on June 12, 2019.


Let us see how the minister for drinking water and the minister for finance had been misinforming the public after the three ministers in question had obviously done so perfectly well and visible to the common folks. Minister for Drinking Water Bina Magar had said that the entire populace would have clean drinking water, and Minister for Finance Dr Yubraj Khatiwada said in his budget speech delivered on May 29, 2019 that 92 percent of the population would have clean drinking water. Both the ministers probably had been saying such things to make sure that they followed the Constitution, as the Constitution has made the provision for having the drinking water as the fundamental rights.


Both these ministers had been talking to the people who had been heavily suffering from the acute shortage of drinking water. If these two ministers in question had been residing in Kathmandu they would surely know that how many times a month the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) had been providing the residents of Kathmandu with the drinking water. If any areas were lucky enough then the areas would receive water three times a month for two to three hours every time; then the less lucky ones would have once a month, and the unlucky ones would never have the water from KUKL. Nobody cared about the rural folks, who had to walk three hours for collecting a pitcher full of water.


Is it not the ministers have been misinforming the people and the international community, and provoking the public backlash?


Now, Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit, who had been relentlessly engaged in adjusting the civil service employees or making sure that the local units would have the required civil employees to run the administration for delivering the State services to the common folks, and for implementing the development projects at the local level.


It had been already more than a year since the news about the adjustment of the civil employees were floated; however Minister Pandit had just completed the administrative work on regulating the civil services, and adjusting civil employees for the local units. However, the local units had complained that those serving at the local units had left because they were posted to somewhere while others who were supposed to take the duty had not arrived causing the service delivery to common folks almost impossible.


Then, the Public Service Commission advertised for about nine thousands jobs at the local units. It immediately provoked some political leaders and lawmakers into saying that it did not ensure the spirit of the inclusive of different people, and it went against the spirit of the federalism, too. They demanded the cancellation of the advertisement and make a new one making it inclusive following the spirit of the federalism. The State Affairs Management Committee of the parliament also instructed to cancel the advertisement for recruiting employees for the local units, instead employ the required number of people on contract or on a temporary basis.


Speaking at the interaction program the Communication Center Nepal held in Kathmandu on June 11, 2019, Minister Pandit said that the vacancy announcement the public Service Commission had put up would not be cancelled, and it was done following the existing Civil Service Act as per the Constitution, the news published in the second page of “gorkhapatra” on June 12, 2019 stated.


Probably, Minister Pandit ignored the fact that the Council of Ministers of which he is the member is accountable to the parliament in the parliamentary system of governance. The House elected a prime minister and then the prime minister appointed ministers including Minister Pandit. The House could call for a vote of no confidence against the prime minister. If the House voted for it then the Council of Ministers would be dissolved.


At the same time RJP parliamentarian Anil Kumar Jha demanded to make the vacancy announcement the Public Service Commission had made inclusive and proportional to the population, and implement the Lal Commission’s report on this matter, the RSS news posted on stated on June 12, 2019.


Probably, most of the folks must have forgotten the medical education bill that provoked a man who happened to be a medical doctor into protesting against it, and then of course the folks of the medical community joined him. He was Dr. Govinda K.C. who had taken more than dozen of fast-unto-death protesting against the Medical Education Bill.


However, the current government of Prime Minister KP Oli signed off an agreement on one thing but the bill passed was again with the same article Dr K.C. fought against. Dr KC again sat for the fast-unto-death but the government of Prime Minister KP Oli did not give a fig for the life of Dr K.C. So, the opposition leader also the president of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba called on Dr K.C. and told him that the government wanted him to die so please break up the fasting. So did Dr K.C.


We have the prime minister who said that the provinces and local units were the federal units. Probably, Prime Minister Oli pretended that he did not either read the constitution or he did not understand it. However, there was no excuse for the prime minister not to read the constitution or ignore it, as he had to follow it for his daily work. Saying the provinces and the local units were the federal units the prime minister probably had violated the constitution and he had subjected himself to dishonoring the constitution.


Thus, most of the ministers including the prime minister had been provoking the public backlash as if they did not need to face the next elections; and as if they had the communist dictatorship or the dictatorship of the proletariats, which had earned nothing but hate, and which had been the main cause of the death of the Soviet Union.


June 12, 2019

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