Kathmandu, July 21
Unconvinced by the government’s offer of dialogue, more than 200 supporters of orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC have threatened to start hunger strike at Basantapur tomorrow.
Advocate Om Prakash Aryal told a rally that more than 200 supporters would stage hunger strike tomorrow at Basantapur to express solidarity with Dr KC. They said if their demands were not met, then they could continue the strike indefinitely from Monday.
Dr KC, who has been staging hunger strike for the last 22 days demanding incorporation of the Mathema Commission’s report in the new Medical Education Bill, has sought a minister led talks team, not a team led by a bureaucrat.
Khagaraj Baral, secretary at the education ministry, who is the coordinator of the government talks team, issued a press release today urging Dr KC’s talks team to sit for dialogue without any condition. Dr KC’s talks team also issued a press release saying it would not hold talks with the government unless a ministry-level committee with full mandate was formed.
The government team stated in its release that the government had fulfilled its responsibility as a guardian by bringing Dr KC from Jumla to save his life after Karnali Academy of Health Sciences confirmed that his health was deteriorating. The government team also said talks could not be held as Dr KC’s team was unwilling to sit for dialogue.
Dr KC’s team said his health had deteriorated and anything could happen to him anytime. The team also said Dr KC had refused to be examined by doctors to protest against the government’s use of force while airlifting him from KAHS on Thursday, which also injured KAHS health professionals and damaged the hospital’s property. Dr KC’s team also said holding talks with a government team that lacked full mandate was sheer waste of time.
Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, former chief justice Sushila Karki and human rights activist Krishna Pahadi also hit the street today to express solidarity with Dr KC.
Addressing a mass rally at Baneshwor, former CJ Sushila Karki urged the government to fulfil Dr KC’s demands immediately. Expressing solidarity with Dr KC, she said that although the government pretended not to give importance to Dr KC’s demand, citizens had understood their importance. “If Dr KC’s demands are not met, the country will burn,” she added.
Dr KC’s key demands include incorporation of the medical education ordinance brought by the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government which had banned new medical colleges in Kathmandu for 10 years; restricted a university from issuing more than five affiliations to medical colleges and required medical colleges to run their own hospitals for at least three years before getting affiliation.
A version of this article appears in print on July 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.