Nepal | November 17, 2019

House stalled for second day over Sarlahi killings

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 10

Lawmakers representing opposition parties, including the main opposition Nepali Congress and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, stalled House proceedings for the second day today, demanding formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate loss of two lives in police firing in Sarlahi district last month.

Sarlahi district in-charge of the Netra Bikram Chand led-group Kumar Paudel was killed in an alleged encounter with the police on June 20, whereas Saroj Narayan Singh of Ishworpur Municipality was killed during police firing in a protest on the East-West Highway on June 30. The protest was triggered by the drowning of 11-year-old Amit Ray in a water-filled pit dug by illegally-run sand and pebble industries on June 29.

Amid House obstruction and sloganeering by opposition lawmakers, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara allowed Secretary of the House of Representatives Gopalnath Yogi to read out messages that the National Assembly had attached with its endorsement of four budget related bills.

Amid protests Yogi told the HoR that the Upper House had passed four budget related bills Fiscal Bill, Appropriation Bill, Bill to Raise National Debt and Loan and Collateral (23rd) Amendment Bill, without any changes. The HoR had passed these bills and sent to the Upper House for endorsement.

Lawmakers representing the NC and the RJP-N rose from their chairs as soon as Speaker Mahara started the House proceedings, but the Speaker told the lawmakers that they had already raised their concerns yesterday, following which the opposition lawmakers swarmed the HoR well to protest Mahara’s intention not to allow them
to speak.

The speaker tried hard to pacify them, but the opposition lawmakers continued to obstruct the House proceedings. The Speaker then postponed the House till July 15.

NC lawmakers decided to stall the House proceedings as a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee held this morning failed to forge an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties.

NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal told THT that they would continue to stall House proceedings until the Parliamentary investigation committee was formed. “The opposition has taken the death incidents as serious human rights violation, but the government and ruling parties exhibited least sensibility towards the issue,” she said. “Tendency of the government and ruling parties to ignore the breach of serious rights violation is a grave issue.”

Responding to the suggestion by the lawmakers of the ruling party that a thematic Parliamentary committee could look into the matter, Bhusal said the incidents where the state was involved called for investigation by an independent all-party parliamentary committee.

She said Speaker Mahara should have taken lead for the formation of the committee, but he too acted irresponsibly.

Ruling party lawmakers said formation of a separate parliamentary probe committee was not required given the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee had already directed the government to probe Paudel’s encounter, whereas an all-party agreement was reached yesterday at the district level, on the killing of Singh.

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A version of this article appears in print on July 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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