Student leaders threaten to intensify agitation

Kathmandu, August 2:

Leaders of various student unions today threatened the government that they would intensify the movement for ‘total democracy’ even as they said democracy and monarchy could not go together. Speaking at an interaction at the Reporters’ Club, Khimlal Bhattarai, president of the

All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU), said: “The end of monarchy will be determined by the King’s move and students have already gone ahead with a decisive movement.” He said the “total democracy” they have been fighting for should be an inclusive one that addresses economic, social and cultural issues. “Political achievement will be the focal point of the students’ movement that would advocate for total democracy,” Bhattarai said. “If the King wants to be a ruler, he should contest an election.” “What students have been doing in the street is just a reaction to the royal move and the major movement will be announced very soon,” he said, adding: “The students will intensify protest programmes as soon as examinations are over and the new session starts.”

Bishwo Prakash Sharma, former president of the Nepal Students’ Union (NSU), said the King had given two choices: Panchayat or republic. “Political parties should come up with a clear-cut agenda and should not be lured by the King,” said Sharma. Guru Raj Ghimire, another former NSU president, said only political parties could defeat the government with support from students and the civil society. Ghimire alleged that the student unions, too, had not been able to intensify the movement at a time when seven students were in custody on false charges. Rajendra Rai, former president of the ANNFSU, said: “The eight student unions should intensify the protest against the arrest of the seven students; otherwise it would have an adverse effect on the future movements.” Kishor Singh Rathore, president of the NSU, a student wing of NC-D, said the demand for a constituent assembly should be reviewed.