KATHMANDU: Minister for Home Affairs, Ram Bahadur Thapa, has said that the government was committed to protect people’s right to peaceful demonstration.
Briefing today’s meeting of House of Representatives about Maitghar Mandal incident occurred on Sunday over Guthi bill, Minister Thapa clarified that the government would take moral responsibility of the incident.
He said, “Police used minor force and water cannon upon agitators after they obstructed the public transport. The government has no thinking to suppress people’s right to peaceful demonstration.”
Saying the government was ready to carry out investigation into Maitighar Mandala, the Home Minister said that minor force was used to bring the demonstrators under control after some security personnel were injured when demonstrators started pelting stones and bricks at them at a time when they were trying to resume traffic by using water cannon on demonstrators.
He further said that the demonstrators, brought under the control, were released on the same day.
The Home Minister said, “Necessary investigation into the incident has already been started. Punishment will be taken if laws are violated even from the side of the state or demonstrators.”
Guthi bill should be withdrawn: Main opposition party
Earlier to this, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara gave permission to lawmaker of Nepali Congress, Rajendra Kumar KC, to speak after NC lawmakers stood from their respective seats as a gesture of protest over the issue of Guthi bill.
In the meeting, KC claimed that the Maitighar incident was a testament that Communists did not follow the constitution, law, religion, culture and tradition.
“The constitution has guaranteed the protection of religious places and Guthis, the people of several places including of Kathmandu Valley people have united against the Guthi Bill and any move capable of harming religion and traditions in the name of Guthi Bill is highly condemned thus unaccepted,” he said.
He questioned the government about its perception towards land protected by our ancestors for religion and for the use of future generation and demanded a probe committee to deal with the Maitighar incident. “Nepal has its unique identity as the nation with religious, cultural and linguistic diversities. Culture and traditions are our precious properties. Thus we all call upon the government to show its decency to pull off the bill.”
In response to his queries, the Home Minister took time to brief the session about the Maitighar incident.
Immediately after that Nepali Congress Chief Whip Balkrishna Khand accused the bill of coming out against religion and culture. He demanded the reply from the government that why people peacefully gathered at the Maitighar Mandala expressing their reservations were restored to the barbaric police intervention. People joining the peaceful agitation were not only arrested, but were beaten up as well, which is really condemnable and the government has been urged to respect citizen’s constitutional rights.
Pushpa Bhusal from the same party sought the government’s apology for its forced intervention in the gathering voicing for the protection of culture.
Dila Sangroula of Nepali Congress stressed that the government should reply that why force was used in the peaceful agitation. Devendra Raj Kandel representing the same party asked why an alternative route was not managed that day when the government was aware of the schedule of protest programme.
Another lawmaker from the main opposition, Dev Prasad Timilsina, expressed his concern over the use of police force in the peaceful assembly. Parbati DC Chaudhary from the same party accused that the bill came as an attack on religion and culture.
Socialist Party’s Rajendra Prasad Shrestha was of the view that the Guthi Bill was introduced by going against the constitution with an intention of abolishing Nepal’s culture and tradition.
He also sought the government’s apology for its intervention in the peaceful agitation at Maitighar Mandala.
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