Bhim Chapagain in Nagarik, 10 January
Govinda KC, who has been on 15 fast-unto-death protests to demand reforms in medical sector, began his 16th protest in Ilam on Wednesday after Parliament’s Education and Health Committee passed the Medical Education Bill in violation of the agreement made with him.
He has begun a new phase of protests with six demands, asking for the Medical Education Bill to be amended before it is passed by the full Parliament. KC reached Ilam on Tuesday, and organised a press meet on Wednesday evening to announce his protest at a private home near the Tundikhel.
“By violating the agreement, the Parliamentary Committee has prepared a bill that is not oriented towards the people but the mafia,” he said. Hundreds of people attended to express solidarity with his protest.
Some of KC’s previous demands have been fulfilled by this bill. For example, the bill restricts opening new medical colleges in Kathmandu for the next ten years, requires that medical colleges should be non-profit, and has provisions for scholarships to make medical education accessible to all.
However, many previous demands remain unfulfilled, and KC has asked that the bill be amended to reflect word for word the agreement made with him on Aug 26 of this year. Besides that, he has also made the following demands:
- Tribhuvan University officials found guilty by the Gauri Bahadur Karki investigation committee should be sacked immediately. The Institute of Medicine should be restored with the rights taken over by TU. Planned affiliations through Agriculture and Forestry Ministry that defy the cabinet decision should be cancelled and the culprits punished.
- Medical Colleges should be opened in all seven provinces.
- The culprit of Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder case should be apprehended and punished, and those colluding in hiding the evidence should also be punished.
- Wartime crimes should be processed and the guilty punished according to international laws. Victims should be heard and transitional justice process should be concluded.
- Kathmandu University should roll back the high fees it is charging in defiance of the government’s decision, and those responsible be punished.
KC began his protest by drinking a glass of water, and said he will only drink water during his protest. He added: “I am fighting for 30 million Nepalis, so I don’t care whether I live or die.”