Shanti Batika at Ratna Park to be declared ‘protest zone’

Kathmandu, August 4

The government is making preparations to declare Shanti Batika at Ratna Park a ‘protest zone’  for political parties, interest groups and people who want to express their opinions or wish to hold demonstrations for or against something.

Minister for Home Affairs Janardan Sharma said he had already discussed the issue with Nepal Police and Kathmandu Metropolitan City in this regard.

“We will soon declare Shanti Batika a protest zone by determining the boundary, where disgruntled political parties, interest groups and people will be allowed to stage sit-in, rally or other forms of protest programmes as per the existing laws,” he told mediapersons at an interaction organised in Singha Durbar today.

According to Sharma, the move aims to maintain law and order in society and facilitate authorities concerned to hear grievances of agitating forces from one place. Once Shanti Batika is declared a protest zone, no one will be allowed to stage any form of protest in Maitighar Mandala and other places in Kathmandu.

“Shanti Batika could be the right place to be declared a protest zone as it is located close to Metropolitan Police Office. If the designated area could not accommodate a huge turnout of protesters, nearby Khula Manch may also be used,” he said, adding that necessary infrastructures such as shed, water supply and toilet, among others, would be developed in the proposed protest zone. Many countries, including India, have designated certain public places for political protests.

On a different note, Minister Sharma said implementation of the 84-point Home Administration Reform Roadmap, which he made public last month, was in progress.

“Disaster Management Bill has been finalised and is expected to be approved soon. The home ministry is drafting the Federal Police Bill to pave the way for mobilisation of police force in line with the federal setup,” he said. Minister Sharma said the home ministry was also working on Internal Security Policy and was mulling over the possibility of launching ‘Clean Kathmandu Campaign’ to curb crimes and make the capital city a safer place to live in.

“The term ‘clean’ has nothing to do with environmental pollution, but is concerned with security. The proposed campaign will deal with various crimes, including fraud and organised crimes. For this, technology-based policing will be prioritised,” he said.

According to him, the government is planning to establish special bureaus to combat human trafficking and cybercrimes and to develop a new system to make promotion and transfer of police personnel transparent and indisputable in future.