Landless people and many others living inside squatter settlements took out a protest rally in Koteshwor today against the government's recent decision to scrap the Land-related Problems Resolution Commission.

The protest was organised under the leadership of CPN-UML's leader Shanta Chaudhary who demanded reinstatement of the commission.

Scores of participants displayed a banner which read, 'All landless, squatters, unmanaged settlers unite' and 'reinstate the land-related problem resolution commission.' Chaudhary has said that they will be forced to organise further stricter protests if the government does not address their demands as soon as possible.

A Cabinet meeting led by newly appointed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba held on August 3 had decided to scrap the LPRC. The commission was formed by KP Sharma Oli-led government on 14 April 2020 which was headed by CPN UML's Chitwan-based leader Devi Gyawali. People, mainly living in squatter settlements around the Manohara, Bagmati, and Bishnumati river banks inside Kathmandu valley have been staging sporadic protests around their area against the government move to scrap the newly formed commission.

The CPN-UML has also formally asked the government to revoke its decision to scrap the LPRC and focus on addressing the burning issues seriously.

The UML has maintained that the commission was formed to ensure the people's fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. The party has claimed that the decision to scrap the commission formed in line with existing laws shows that the government is against the rights of Dalits and landless people.

Issuing a press release, the UML had said that the incumbent government was guided by political revenge as the newly formed commission by its party was set to provide land ownership certificates to around 1.2 million landless people in the country.

On behalf of Gyawali, Advocate Prabesh KC has also filed a writ petition seeking to reverse the government's decision at the Supreme Court. KC argued that the commission was formed as per the constitutional obligations and the government's decision to scrap it was an illegal move.

Article 37 of the constitution stipulates that every citizen shall have the right to an appropriate housing. Writ petitioner has also argued that the commission was working for the rights of Dalit and underprivileged people, who were most affected due to landlessness.

In a short period of its establishment, the commission had appointed officials and set up offices in all the 77 districts.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Assembly today, CPN-UML Vice-Chairman Bamdev Gautam said the problems of landless people would not be resolved merely by distributing land ownership certificates.

He argued that the government should form a scientific land reform programme to resolve the issues.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 9 2021, of The Himalayan Times.