Nepal | August 12, 2020

‘Enough is Enough’ campaigners begin hunger strike once again

Himalayan News Service
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Upset by the government’s failure to implement the 12-point agreement reached with the Ministry of Health and Population, youths involved in Enough is Enough’ campaign have once again started fast-unto-death strike at Basantapur to exert pressure on the government to effectively handle the COVID-19 crisis.

Activists Iih, 26, and Pukar Bam, 30, had on July 7, ended their hunger strike on the 12th day after the MoHP signed a 12-point-agreement with them.

The government had agreed to address key demands of the agitating youths such as scrapping of the rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19, community testing of the affected and releasing people from quarantine facilities only after confirming that they had not contracted the virus by conducting PCR tests.

Government authorities had also committed to draft policy for effective handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

The agitating youths, however, said the government was not serious about addressing their demands. Two days ago, dozens of youths expressing solidarity with the ‘Enough is Enough’ movement had staged a protest outside the prime minister’s official residence at Baluwatar, reminding the government about the agreement.

Alok Subedi, one of the initiators of the movement said, “The government, which promised to act within a week, has been turning a deaf ear to our plea.”

Subedi said they had also verbally reminded the ministry’s authority about their written agreement. “None of the agreements reached with us has been implemented properly. To make matters worse, the government has reduced PCR tests and has started releasing people from quarantine facilities just for not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.”

The youths said the government’s act of releasing quarantined people without symptoms was very dangerous as a majority of the COVID-19 patients could be asymptomatic.

‘Enough is Enough’ movement initiator, Iih, has thus started his second fastunto-death hunger strike at Basantapur.

Dozens of youths expressing solidarity with him have joined the 12-hour-long relay hunger strike while hundreds have met him in person. ‘Enough is Enough’ is an apolitical campaign launched on July 9.

A dozen youths had joined the protest at Baluwatar demanding the government’s proper response in the fight against the virus and transparency in government expenditure.

The movement soon started drawing the attention of more youths through social media and protests were staged nationwide.

But, the protests in later days were suppressed by the police using force, indiscriminately.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 19, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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