Appointment of non-Buddhist member secretary at LDT decried

  • NEFIN says the government is trying to establish supremacy of a single ethnicity as in

    the Panchayat era

Kathmandu, August 2

National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, along with six other Buddhist organisations, have demanded that

the government scrap the appointment of Palpa Chief District Officer Bishnu Prasad Dhakal as member secretary of Lumbini Development Trust.

Issuing a joint press release today, they said appointment of a non-Buddhist general secretary affected the work of the trust. This is the first time the government has appointed a non-Buddhist member secretary of LDT since its establishment in 1985. Dhakal is retiring as CDO in two months.

“This is a crude attack on Buddhism. The appointment of a non-Buddhist member secretary at LDT shows that the government of federal democratic republic of Nepal is trying to establish the supremacy of a single ethnicity as in the Panchayat era. This won’t help the development of Lumbini area, but will destroy its originality.”

Talking to THT, NFIN Chair Jagat Bahadur Baram said, “How can a member secretary who doesn’t understand the spirit of Buddhism make rules and regulations at the trust.” He also said that the government was deliberately trying to suppress indigenous communities.

“Removing public holidays on major festivals of indigenous communities and religious minorities is one of many examples of how the government is trying to undermine them.”

Vice-chairperson of LDT Awadhesh Tripathi, who is also a Buddhist monk, however, said that the Lumbini Development Trust Act 1985 entrusted the government with appointing member secretary and hence there was no point making much fuss about the appointment.

“Although it would have been better had the government appointed a Buddhist member secretary, the LDT also needs someone who understands the way the government functions. I think people are politicising the issue, which could pave the way for religious fundamentalism.”

The LDT has a nine-member working committee, which is chaired by the culture minister. Normally vice-chair, member secretary and treasurer are from the Buddhist background.

Chief of planning division of LDT Sharad Bhattarai had been working as an acting member secretary for the last nine months after former member secretary Ajit Man Tamang retired on December 2, 2017.

Tamang also said that the top officials of LDT should be chosen from Buddhist community. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the reduction of LDT budget from Rs 71 million last year to Rs 51 million this year.

Meanwhile, Advocate Shiva Aryal and a youth leader of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have filed a case at the Supreme Court against appointment of Dhakal as LDT member secretary. Hearing of the case is scheduled for tomorrow.