EDITORIAL: Mockery of rule of law

The person who got smacked by Deepak Manange does not have untainted past, but this does not give leeway to the provincial lawmaker to take the law into his own hands

Gandaki Provincial Assembly member Rajiv Gurung, aka Deepak Manange, is in the soup again. The provincial lawmaker with a notorious past was arrested yesterday for verbally abusing, shoving, kicking and smacking All Nepal Football Association Kaski Chairperson Milan Gurung. Manange has accused Milan of not providing proper lodging facility and training space to football players who had travelled to Pokhara from Manang -- the district that elected him -- to take part in the Chief Minister Cup Football Tournament. Manange, who previously used to operate a gang in Thamel, was arrested based on a police complaint lodged by Milan. But Manange is completely unapologetic about his behaviour. On Wednesday, he even defended his actions and accused Milan and ANFA officials of being corrupt.

Ironically, Manange physically assaulted Milan a day after his Nepal Communist Party introduced a controversial code of conduct, which among others, calls on party members to stop referring to others using the word ‘ta’, respect everyone, and maintain social harmony. But surprisingly the ruling party has not issued an official statement on the conduct of Manange. If the party starts maintaining conspicuous silence on issues of these kinds, possibilities of others taking the law into their own hands cannot be ruled out. It is well known that the party’s central leadership still rules the roost even after formation of organisations at provinces, districts and local levels based on the country’s new federal structure. This was evident when it directed its elected representatives in Province 3 to name the province Bagmati and designate Hetauda as the capital. So, the central leadership, which can issue moral codes for its cadres across the country, should also build mechanisms to maintain law and order in the country and hold its members accountable for crimes they have committed.

Reportedly, Milan does not have an untainted past as well. He is said to have deliberately delayed payments to vendors who supplied goods and services during football tournaments organised by ANFA Kaski. These vendors have charged Milan of physically assaulting them for asking him to clear the dues. One vendor has even claimed he has a video footage of one such unpleasant incident. Accusations levelled against Milan need to be probed and if found guilty he must be punished as per the law. Of course, corruption is rife in the country and there are cases of those committing crime going off scot-free. But many influential people have also been thrown to the jail for trampling the country’s laws. So, it was unwarranted of Manange to intentionally disregard the country’s laws and judicial system to, what he calls, tame Milan. Manange should understand that he was elected by the people of his district to frame laws to foster sustained socio-economic development of his province and strengthen the federal system of government, not to take the law into his own hands. Since no one is above the law in Nepal, Manange’s arrest is a welcome step, as anyone who makes a mockery of the rule of law should face legal consequences. Now that he is arrested he should be given a fair trial.

Free haemodialysis

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and Nepali Army have jointly launched free haemodialysis service at the Chhauni-based Birendra Military Hospital from Wednesday. Sixty-four-year-old Chandra Devi Maharjan of KMC-15 was the first person to avail the service. As per the agreement between the KMC and NA, the former will provide Rs 30 million to the hospital to manage haemodialysis machine, infrastructure and human resources. It was launched as per the public health policy plan.

KMC Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya hoped that hundreds of needy and helpless people would benefit from the free haemodialysis service, which will be made available on the recommendation of the concerned wards of the metropolis and Public Health Division. Initially, up to 12 people will get the free service in two shifts. The KMC and the hospital deserve praise for the joint initiative. The haemodialysis service is very costly and poor families cannot afford to bear the cost in the long-run. At the same time, people should also change their lifestyle and do regular exercise to stay healthy. However, to make it sustainable, the government should allocate enough resources even the public hospitals outside the capital.