Nepal | August 10, 2020

Police arrest dozens of protesters


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  • lih’s hunger strike enters 17th day
  • Deuba expresses support for activists’ agenda

Kathmandu, August 1

In yet another operation of the riot police, more than 35 youth activists representing ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign were arrested, even before they could stage a protest outside Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s official residence in Baluwatar.

The youths were arrested and jailed the whole day even before they could gather around or display placards.
The youths were planning to stage a peaceful protest in support of activist Iih, 26, who has been on a fast-unto death for the last 16 days.

This is the second time activist Iih has been on hunger strike demanding implementation of the 12-point agreement reached between him and the government on July 7.

While Iih’s hunger strike is being prolonged indefinitely, the government is turning a deaf ear to the hundreds of supporters who have come forward to express solidarity with him.

Hundreds of youths who had come to join the protest were arrested outside various restaurants, supermarkets and while they were heading towards the protest site. Only a handful of youths who managed to trick the authorities and reach Baluwatar area were able to shout slogans or display placards, that too for a short span of time.

The arrested were kept at Metropolitan Police Circle, Maligaun.

Agrima KC, the campaign coordinator, said, “Some high ranking police officers had told us yesterday that they would not use force or disperse the protest set for today.

We were thus ready to organise the protest in a peaceful manner. But, they did not even let us gather around the protest site.”

The youths had also staged protest yesterday. They were also detained and released late in the evening.

The government, in the 12-point agreement, had agreed to scrap the rapid diagnostic test, increase PCR test and release people from quarantine only after ensuring they had not contracted the virus through PCR testing. The government had also agreed to increase PCR test of medical health professionals and implement the agreement by drafting new rules.

The youths say the government has shown no interest in implementing the agreement.

“We all want the government to act promptly to save lives. Or, the government will have to answer for the death of hundreds more people in the coming days if it does not improve its methods,” activist lih said during a brief telephonic conversation with THT.

Meanwhile, lih’s health condition is deteriorating with each passing day. He has not been able to speak to people properly and has difficulty sitting.

Laxmi Pariyar, a health assistant taking care of lih said fluctuations were observed in his vital signs, which was not a good sign. “lih could become unconscious anytime because of lack of solid food,” Pariyar said. lih is currently surviving on saline water.

READ MORE: NC prez expresses solidarity, asks lih to end hunger strike

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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