Apropos of the news story “Former lawmaker Gayatri Shah, husband arrested” (THT, May 6, Page 1), it is dispiriting to learn that a former lawmaker, Gayatri Shah, and her husband Rajesh Mahato have been arrested on the charge of abandoning a newborn, who was allegedly born with Down Syndrome. The report speaks volumes about the most tragic story of the so-called civilised world, in which we are growing into cultures where motherhood and fatherhood are suspected.
We must be aware of the fact that this is not only a personal issue but social and political also. We live in a culture where disabled people are increasingly perceived as a costly burden to the structures of the family and social institutions, which, indeed, is a decadence of humanity. A child with disability has the right to dignity, special care, rehabilitation, family and personal integrity, among others.
Clause 184 of Section 12 of the Criminal Code, 2017 clearly states that abandoning an infant, child, a disabled person or an elderly is a crime. One – whose responsibility is to protect such a vulnerable section of society so as to ensure that they are not exposed to harm – if found guilty is liable to a range of punishments depending upon the gravity of the case. Nepal has legalised abortion since 2002, and the right has been guaranteed in the constitution, which gives women the right to abort a foetus of up to 12 weeks under certain conditions to ensure women’s right to reproductive health. Besides, an abortion is also allowed at any time on a doctor’s recommendation if the pregnancy poses a danger to the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or the foetus is seriously deformed.
Legal provisions cannot serve the very purpose of the reproductive right unless it is honestly practised.
Som Nath Ghimire, Kawasoti
This is with reference to the news story “Ban on smoking, using tobacco in public places bears no fruit” (THT, May 6, Page 2). I agree with this statement that the ban has no impact in society. The consumption of tobacco and smoking has not been controlled though the law prohibits their use in public places. Many retail shops near schools are seen selling cigarettes and tobacco packs though they know this is illegal. People smoke shamelessly in the open area in front of the schools and children.
Last week, I went to a restaurant to have a meal. The hotel was filled with cigarette smoke, so I could not stay there for long. I have the right to fresh air, but some people do not care about it. Smoking in public places may have a bad impact on children. I have seen many college students buying cigarettes and smoking in college uniform. The college students should not be allowed to buy cigarettes or tobacco, that too, when in college uniform.
Smoking in public places affects the health of passive smokers. Smoking and chewing tobacco should be banned in cinema halls, theatres, hospitals, bus stands, parks, roads and temples, where a large number of people gather. The police should be active to implement the law to see that nobody smokes in public places.
Abhishek Kunwar, Pokhara
A version of this article appears in print on May 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.