June 19, 2019 07:27 AM NPT
Locals of Banepa stage a demonstration against the controversial Guthi Bill on Tuesday. The government withdrew the bill later in the day. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, June 19: Locals of Banepa took to the street Tuesday against the controversial Guthi Bill. After strong protests in various places across the country, the government later on Tuesday withdrew the bill from parliament.
People from various walks of life participated in the demonstration.
“The Guthi practice has remained an important part of our culture for centuries. But the government tried to destroy the culture. Therefore, we were compelled to take to the streets,” local cultural expert Gyankaji Manandhar said addressing a corner meeting.
Addressing the meeting, he elaborated on the importance of Guthis and how they have managed festivals, pujas, and other cultural activities in Banepa, Panauti and Palanchowk for centuries. “The local Guthis have played important role to preserve the culture,” said Manandhar.
The government pushed the locals to protests as the bill proposed to transform private Guthis into public ones and run them through an authority, said Sunesh Shakya, a member of a local struggle committee formed to protest against the bill.
“The bill plans to classify temples based on their incomes and siphon off the temples’ incomes to the authority and then end the cultural activities that Guthis have been doing,” said Shakya.
Also, local youth politician Indra Narayan Bhail said that the issues related to Guthi and land-related issues should be dealt with separately.
Various noted activists including former Minister of State for Industry Kanchan Chandra Bade Shrestha, cultural conservationists Siddhi Bahadur Shrestha and Bidya Shrestha address the rally.