The formation of the strongest government in the history of Nepalese politics in the aftermath of the general election of a federal Nepal was taken as a sign of good omen for the national prosperity. With the political stability guaranteed, people’s aspirations to see a developed nation had soared. Selling the big promises of national transformation, the present PM has vowed to ameliorate all sorts of problems in the country and improve the well-being. Meanwhile, his lip-service commitment to bring drastic change in every sector of economy is only pleasing for ear but not for alleviating the day to day life problems.
Having said that, the first few months were definitely encouraging. Ranging from the decisions to abolish the syndicate system in the transportation sector to curbing the problems of the Nepali foreign employment, visible signs had emerged in this direction of positive change. However, the successful implementation of such decisions have already taken a backseat according to various media reports indicating the government’s apathy to put the policy into practice.
What is more worrisome is that the government has shown its lukewarm interest in dominating the voice of the citizens. Breaching the constitutional provisions of the fundamental rights associated with freedom of opinion, expression and the right to assemble peacefully (Article 17), the government has recently issued some unacceptable directives aiming to curb the individual liberties and freedom which has invited severe hatred and anger among the civil society.
Allowing only seven places in Kathmandu for protest and declaring others as restricted areas, the government has directly challenged the notion of the fundamental rights to freedom. Outraged by this move, the opposition party Nepali Congress has decided to strictly refute this issue in parliament as well as street. While the culture of merely pointing at the government for every action has been deeply institutionalised in our context, this time the issue is a pertinent one.
Furthermore, barring the valiant Dr. KC for staging his 15th hunger strike and providing him inhumane treatment, the government’s anti-democratic character has been bitterly exposed. It is learnt that Dr. KC is unlikely to return back to Kathmandu unless the government heeds his demands. With the intention of the present government to introduce a replacement bill in the parliament for medical education deviating from the original spirit of the medical ordinance, the matter has gone from bad to worse. The undue interest on the part of the government to protect a handful of business entrepreneurs who have a hunger of accumulating profit in the name of medical service has generated heated debate and controversy in the public circle.
In the latest round of the protest, the prominent members of the civil society recently organised a press conference expressing their strong reservation over the government’s decision to ban peaceful demonstrations at public places. In a very emotional statement, former Chief Justice Sushila Karki vented her ire against the present government for only making tall promises but turning a blind eye on the everyday affairs of the general public. Highlighting the maladies of the medical education in Nepal, she lamented at the role of the government that tends to promote the vested interest of the business entrepreneurs at the cost of the valuable lives of the general public.
In fact, such actions on the part of the government also pose a serious question mark over its ideological inclination to a socialist oriented state system which is also mentioned in the preamble of the constitution. Reminding the current government of the ideological tenets of Marxism, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, a former Maoist ideologue expressed his utter dismay over the anti-socialist activities of the government and the growing dictatorial mind-set in the present PM.
It is ironical that the democracy and individual liberties restored after long battle has become endangered. While the Nepali Communist Party comprising of the UCPN- Maoist and the CPN-UML had themselves fought for the rights of the people to raise their voices against the state, they themselves have now curtailed the personal freedom. How justifiable is that? What can we expect of the government that fails to demonstrate a democratic behavior? Where is the communism philosophy reflected in their actions?
Hence, the government immediately needs to scrap its unpopular decision to ban the right to assemble peacefully and stage demonstrations in the matters of public concern. Any attempts to justify such move will be detrimental to the development of the nation.
While education and health are regarded as the basic social service sector under the state’s responsibility, the case is extremely opposite in our context. Charging hefty sum to the patients, the medical institutions have come overtly profit oriented and have inflicted severe financial burdens on the general customers. Even those without a proper infrastructure have been running medical schools and hospitals just for pure financial gain.