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KC’s new crusade

Sunday, July 10th, 2016
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Govinda KC announces his eighth hunger strike on Sunday. Photo: Gopen Rai

He has done it before, and he is doing it again.

After seven previous rounds of hunger strikes that forced the government to initiate reforms of Nepal’s medical education sector, Govinda KC began fast unto death for the eighth time on Sunday, this time aimed mainly at the anti-corruption watchdog which he says is itself corrupt.

KC has demanded impeachment of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Chief Lokman Singh Karki, accusing him of overstepping his jurisdiction, interfering in the medical entrance exams of Kathmandu University last month, abusing his power to help medical colleges run by his relatives and forcing honest authorities to resign.

The CIAA has dubbed KC ‘a mentally ill person’, but that did not deter hundreds of people from reaching the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) to express solidarity with KC on Sunday afternoon. On Twitter, people supported KC’s satyagraha with the hashtag #IamwithDrKC.

Ajit Baral of Fine Print Nepal tweeted asking all to gather at the TUTH to support KC. Journalist Kosmos Biswakarma tweeted: ‘I may not be able to become like Dr KC but I can at least satisfy myself by supporting him. End medical mafia! “#IamwithDrKC’.

KC has also demanded that the new Medical Education Bill be passed by Parliament immediately, but he wants provisions about free medical education by fully subsidising government medical colleges and establishing at least one medical college in each federal province instead of allowing new private colleges in Kathmandu Valley.

KC started his strike after last-minute negotiations between his representatives and Prime Minister KP Oli failed. KC had threatened to go on a hunger strike last month, but Oli invited him for talks only on Sunday.

Most politicians have remained conspicuously silent about KC’s demands. Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who got his Naya Shakti registered as Nepal’s 180th political party on Sunday, posted two tweets supporting KC’s fundamental demands but asking him to fight against the government rather than the CIAA.

Legislator Gagan Thapa tweeted: ‘This is not KC’s personal struggle, but the struggle by all the conscious Nepalis because it is about what kind of society we want to build’.

In a statement printed as an advertisement in newspapers, the Acting Dean of the Institute of Medicines (IoM) Bimal Kumar Sinha warned KC against staging a hunger strike on the TUTH premises. He has also threatened to take action against professors, doctors and students who support KC.

KC has refused to move his strike out of TUTH saying this hospital is his ‘home and office’. KC is unmarried, and lives in TUTH quarters. Admired by many for his simplicity, dedication to indigent patients and sheer determination to fight against the medical mafia, KC has inspired many to demand reforms. But he has also antagonised a few powerful people with interests in the lucrative private medical education sector.

Some of the 34 doctors dismissed from their posts after KC’s previous hunger strikes, have threatened to launch a counter hunger strike against him.  They had not shown courage to stand against KC in the past, but they are now raising their voices along with the CIAA Chief Karki who is trying his best to foil KC’s movement.

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4 Responses to “KC’s new crusade”

  1. Utsuk Shrestha on Says:

    The world is mad, people go in circle.
    Pretty faces, ugly faces.

  2. anonymous on Says:

    Make a solution, it is all too ridiculous he may die this time.

  3. anonymous on Says:

    The problem with indifference is that it is going on so long. Why the Abuse Authority Commission does what themselves must prevent?
    It is like some game we all pretend we do this or that and no one sees reality.
    A Commission to Prevent Abuse of Authority should not operate with so much Ego. If this were a buddhist state you would not have so many arrogant kings and would- be kings.
    Human Rights job is not a status quo thing. Ask Human Rights Watch and all those organisations, not you make one tea meeting again and again, but do the thing. Too many good people have suffered their incompetence.

  4. prabin gautam on Says:

    Why the term should be crusade?
    why cannot it be struggle?

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