Double amputee slams govt ban on mountaineering for disabled people

Kathmandu, January 23

Hari Bahadur Budha Magar, a former British Gurkha soldier, lost his both legs above knee during a war in Afghanistan in April 2010.

As a child he always dreamed of climbing Mt Dhaulagiri and Mt Sisne, which was seen from his home in remote Thawang village of Rolpa district. After losing his legs in the war, he had almost lost hope of climbing the mountains, but he finally mustered the courage.

For the past 18 months, Budha Magar has been training to climb Mt Everest. Budha Magar wanted to scale Mt Everest in spring this year, but his wish is unlikely

to be fulfilled as the government has banned people with double amputation and complete blindness from attempting to scale mountains.

Mountaineering Expedition Regulation under Financial and Infrastructure Committee under the Council of Ministers on December 28, 2017 has barred thousands of people with disabilities from around the world, including Budha Magar, from climbing mountains.

National Federation of the Disabled, Nepal today organised a programme in Kathmandu, where people with disabilities said that the government’s recent ban was ‘discrimination against disabled people’.

Speaking at the programme, Budha Magar said, “This ban discourages disabled people. The government should encourage disabled people to come out of their comfort zone and explore their potential.”

Budha Magar has also participated in more than 15 national and international adventure games and events like alpine skiing, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, kayaking, and cycling all around the world.

Budha Magar has demanded that the government revoke the ban, saying it is against the fundamental rights guaranteed to disabled people by the constitution and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006.

The expedition which was supposed to take place this spring, but members of Budha Magar’s expedition team, said they would begin their expedition in 2019 after the government ‘lifts’ the current ban. NFDN officials said the government decision had seriously offended three to four million people with disabilities living in the country.

Budha Magar and team had held several meetings with government officials to lobby for lifting of the ban. “We will continue to fight for our rights,” he concluded.