MoHA designates protest zones in valley

Kathmandu, June 28

The Ministry of Home Affairs today said that its decision to designate seven places of Kathmandu, six places of Lalitpur and one place of Bhaktapur as a ‘public programme and protest zone’ would come into effect from July 17.

At a press meet organised at the MoHA, Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Kedarnath Sharma said the protest zones were designated for political parties, interest groups and people who wanted to express their opinions or hold demonstrations for or against something. He said protests and demonstrations could be held only in Khula Manch, Tinkune Khula Chaur (Thinkune), Bhuinkhel Chaur (Bhaganpau), playground (Pepsicola), football ground (Sano Gaucharan), open space in front of Social Welfare Council (Lainchaur) and Siphal Chaur (Gaushala) of Kathmandu.

CDO Sharma claimed that the move was aimed at maintaining law and order in society and facilitate authorities concerned to hear grievances of agitating forces from particular areas. All places other than seven places should be deemed as prohibited zones to stage any form of protest. Those failing to abide by the decision will face legal action as per the law, he warned.

Responding to queries raised by mediapersons as to why the government did not designate Maitighar Mandala as a protest zone, Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa said it was the duty of the authorities concerned to maintain the beauty and artwork of the symbolic monument. The madala is an important landmark and a masterpiece of art depicting Buddhist relics. He also urged the people to respect the government’s declaration of protest zones.

“Some persons have labelled it as an autocratic move. We did it to ensure public security, and maintain law and order. The persons, who are opposing the decision, are of autocratic nature because they want only the Maitighar Mandala to be declared as a protest zone,” Minister Thapa said.  Earlier, Dr Govinda KC had staged protest against the government’s decision to not allow the mandala to be used as a protest zone.

Similarly, Lalitpur DAO had designated six places as protest zones in the district. They include certain areas of Chyasal, Godavari, Bhainsepati, Bajrabarahi, Lubhu and Dhobighat while Sallaghari is the only protest zone in Bhaktapur. MoHA officials said many countries, including USA, Britain, Singapore, Australia and Canada had a practice of declaring certain places as protest zones.