Nepal | August 12, 2020

Govt turns deaf ears to demands of youths staging hunger strike

Himalayan News Service
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Two youths of ‘Enough Is Enough’ movement have been staging a fast-unto-death hunger strike for the past nine days, but the government has turned a deaf ears to their demands.

Iih, 26, of Kathmandu and Pukar Bam, 30, of Kailali, who began their hunger strike from a Sattal (rest house) in Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur are now admitted to the Dhumbarahi-based HAMS hospital.

They have been surviving on saline water at the hospital but have refused to withdraw their protest.

Two days ago, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had visited Iih and Bam at the hospital to inquire about their condition. Few hours later, two representatives from the Ministry of Health and Population had visited them and talked about the ways to address their demands.

Alok Subedi, who has been co-coordinating talks from the protestors’ side said the authorities had given time for another meeting today at 4:00pm, but they did not visit the hospital. “What can we expect from the government that is oblivious to the demands of the youths who are willing to give their lives for the betterment of the society?” he asked.

Today the activists organised a virtual press meet and expressed their bitterness towards laxity of the government. “We have called for a nationwide Satyagraha to protest against the government,” reads the press release.

Before staging the hunger strike, the campaigners had organised various protest programs outside the prime minister’s official residence at Baluwatar and at Maitighar Mandala.

Thousands of youths, espcially those not representing any political party had joined the protests for days. Police had used force to subdue the protests.

The protesters’ key demand include increasing PCR test, conducting PCR test of asymptomatic patients staying in quarantine facilities, stop releasing quarantined persons without ensuring that they tested negative through PCR test, scrapping of the RDT test and making the contact tracing effective.

They have also asked the government to be transparent about the expenditure in its fight against COV- ID-19. Activists of the movement have clarified they had no intention of derailing the government. “We don’t want the government to fail.

We just want prompt action against the virus and save lives of people as delay to act on time could prove costly in the future,” Subedi said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 5, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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