Minister in hot water for paddy field antics

KATHMANDU: Minister for Agricultural Development Hari Prasad Parajuli on Wednesday drew flak from members of the Legislative-Parliament for his alleged indecent behaviour during National Paddy Day celebrations yesterday.

“Minister’s actions have made us bow our head in shame. He mistreated women and was involved in indecent behaviour at a public programme. He should be asked to furnish clarification in the Parliament,” said Unified CPN-Maoist lawmaker Janardan Sharma, while taking special time in the beginning of today’s House meeting.

Anuradha Thapa Magar of the Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party said, “What the minister did is objectionable and action should be taken against him.” Parajuli allegedly misbehaved with women while participating in paddy plantation in Mulpani, Kathmandu, yesterday.

Some TV channels were abuzz with reports of his antics, fuelling frenzy in the online media where users took him to task for his objectionable actions.

Home Minister Bamdev Gautam today sought clarification from Parajuli after UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and other leaders of the party pressed him to do so. Surya Thapa, deputy chief of the party’s publicity department, also urged Gautam to act swiftly.

Parajuli, during the meeting with Gautam, rejected media reports, saying they were indulging in deliberate character assassination, said sources close to Gautam. “The women involved in the event have themselves rubbished the allegation,” the minister told Gautam, according to the sources.

Advocate Meera Dhungana said, “On the basis of video clips posted on social networking websites, the minister appears to have violated laws related to sexual harassment. Under the provision of the Muluki Ain, those guilty of sexual harassment can face up to one year in jail.”