Kathmandu, September 1
Leaders of agitating political parties today expressed their commitment to taking initiatives not to force closure of schools and colleges during bandh.
Schools and colleges remain closed for a long time due to bandh called by various Madhes-based political parties, Tharu community and other political groups in various districts of the Tarai. Schools and colleges also remained closed for around a month in the aftermath of the devastating April 25 earthquake.
Speaking at a function in the capital today, Ram Naresh Raya Yadav, senior president, Tarai Madhesh Sadbhavana Party, said he will float a proposal during the meeting of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha not to force closure of schools during banda. “I am also a guardian and I don’t want to deprive my children from education. I will float a proposal not to force closure of schools and colleges during bandh.”
Yadav said the curfew and army deployment in the riot-hit districts has also affected academic activities. “Bandh is not our wish but a compulsion. We have been staging protests to pile pressure on the government to implement past agreements,” he said, urging the public not to cast their protests in a bad light.
Manish Suman, general secretary of the Sadbhavana Party, said that until and unless the rights of Madheshi people, students and youths are ensured, education alone would not help them gain their rightful place in society. He urged all guardians to join their protest so as to pile pressure on the government to address their demands.
Rajendra Shrestha, joint-president of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, said, “I am of the view that not only schools but the entire country should be a peace zone,” adding, “If the government implements past agreements, the schools will reopen,” he said. He also said that there was no condition to run schools as students, teachers and guardians were in protest.
Meanwhile, Dr Laba Deo Awasthi, joint secretary at the Ministry of Education, said the ministry was taking initiatives to reopen schools. “The Education Ministry is taking initiatives to reopen schools,” he said, adding, “People should understand that schools and colleges should be kept away from politics. Political protests should not affect functioning of academic institutions.”
Similarly, Private and Boarding Schools’ Organization, Nepal, National Private and Boarding Schools Association Nepal and Higher Secondary Schools Association Nepal have urged all concerned to allow schools to remain open even during bandh. They said that the current bandh has affected the studies of around five million students.
A version of this article appears in print on September 02, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.