People with umbrellas participate in a protest against government near New Baneshwar Thursday over government's indifference to Dr Govinda KC's demands for medical sector reforms. Photo: Bijaya Rai/Republica
KATHMANDU, July 20: Nepal Medical Association (NMA) took to the streets on Thursday to protest against the government’s apathy toward addressing the demands of Dr Govinda KC.
The umbrella organization of doctors across the country organized a demonstration that drew over 1,000 doctors, medical students and civilians. The participants of the demonstration dubbed as “umbrella protest” marched from Maitighar Mandala and went through Babarmahal and Bijulibazar and converged into a rally at New Baneshwar expressing their solidarity with the demands of Dr KC.
Addressing the crowd of protesters at New Baneshwar, NMC President Dr Mukti Ram Shrestha clarified that the association is not against the government but its decisions regarding Dr KC’s demands.
“We don’t know how to make big promises, we instead take action,” Shrestha said, adding, “This is a symbolic protest to show our solidarity to the cause championed by Dr KC. We are not supporting a certain party or opposing the government.”
Dr Shrestha warned that they would be forced to halt medical services for an indefinite period if Dr KC’s demands were not addressed.
President of Nepal Resident Doctors Association (NRDA) Dr Sumit Pandey said Dr KC should not end the ongoing hunger strike if it requires him to stage another hunger strike in future. “We want to see all of Dr KC’s demands addressed,” Dr Pandey said. “We won’t let the 15th hunger strike end without a guarantee that Dr KC does not have to stage 16th hunger strike in future.”
The NMA demonstration was attended by a few parliamentarians and leaders of Bibeksheel Sajha Party including Ujjwal Thapa, Bijay Babu Shiwakoti, Milan Pandey and Ranju Darshana.
During the rally, protesters compared Prime Minister KP Oli with Rana prime ministers and chanted strong slogans against the government. Their placards read “Respect freedom of people”, “Medical act is lost under communist government”, “Ensure free and quality medical education to all” and “We don’t need a mafia-friendly government”.
Senior police official on duty said more than 200 police personnel were mobilized to manage the crowd. Separately, Nepali Congress-affiliated Nepal Student Union (NSU) also hit the streets in different parts of the country on Thursday to protest against the government’s latest move.