Kathmandu, June 13
Unconvinced by the assurance of the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation that protesters’ views on Guthi Bill will be taken positively, residents of Kathmandu valley protested against the bill at Patan Durbar Square today.
Protesters demanded that the government withdraw the bill from the Parliament.
Chairperson of National Identity Protection Joint Struggle Committee Ganapati Lal Shrestha told THT that if the government did not withdraw the bill, residents of Kathmandu valley would continue their protest at Tokha tomorrow and in Bhaktapur day after tomorrow. Shrestha said guthi operators and locals protested against the bill today in Kirtipur, Banepa, Dhulikhel and Pokhara.
Shrestha said the line ministry’s press release was a ploy to hoodwink guthi operators and if the people’s representatives did not speak up against the bill, then locals would stage sit-ins outside lawmakers’ houses.
National Identity Protection Joint Struggle Committee had issued a press release yesterday, stating it would continue its protest until the government withdrew the bill. The committee had also condemned the press release issued by the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation stating that the ministry would take people’s views on the bill positively.
Meanwhile, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota said the government had no intention to adversely impact people’s culture and tradition and the government was ready to hold consultation with stakeholders to correct errors in the Guthi Bill, if any.
Addressing a press briefing at Singha Durbar today, Baskota said the government had the obligation of bringing sweeping changes in the country to realise the goals of the constitution, particularly its pledge to pursue the goals of socialism. He claimed that’s why there were reactions to some bills from multiple stakeholders. “But the government has no intention of adversely impacting people’s culture and traditions,” he added.
Baskota said issues confronting guthis outside Kathmandu valley were different from issues confronting guthis in the valley. He said the government wanted to manage guthi land properly and reactions against the Guthi Bill were natural. He hinted that activities of guthis were a vestige of feudalism. “Sometimes new initiatives are not received well due to old traditions, but should we not end feudal practices?” Baskota wondered. He said when the government wanted reforms in Pashupatinath temple, there was opposition from some quarters, but the government ensured transparency at the temple.
A version of this article appears in print on June 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.