There are more than 2,000 guthi all over Nepal, and they collectively own nearly 150,000 hectares of prime real estate. The management of such entities is traditionally passed down from one generation to the next.
The Guthi Bill would create a central government authority to manage community trusts all over the country. It would have more executive powers than Guthi Sansthan, the current body that oversees trusts. Guthi members and heritage conservationists say the government is working with the land mafia to take over Guthi property.
“The government doesn’t understand how the guthi system works,” said activist Alok Tuladhar, “it just want to usurp the land. The government’s intention is total control, not just the guthi but also free speech and other rights enshrined in the Constitution.”
The protests that began on 9 June have snowballed with more groups and activists joining in. In Parliament, the opposition Nepali Congress halted proceedings on Tuesday, calling for the bill to be scrapped.