Don’t curb people’s right to expression

July 22, 2018 02:30 AM Republica


One of the fundamentals of a vibrant democracy is the people’s right to express their dissatisfaction to the workings of the government. However, the KP Oli government hasn’t been very receptive to the idea of people voicing against its rule. It is rather ironic that the parties that came to power challenging the establishment of the time now are trying to find ways to curb the people’s right to expression. Recent crackdowns in Jumla and in Baneshwar on Saturday show Oli government’s tight fist when it comes to guaranteeing the right enshrined in the constitution. 

What happened in Jumla was shocking. Hundreds of police and armed police force used excessive force on the premises of Karnali Academy of Health Sciences. It was unheard of after the People’s Movement II in Nepal. This government was bent on bringing Dr Govinda KC to Kathmandu at any cost. Now that he is here, Oli government doesn’t seem interested in the talks to address demands set forth by the doctor. The two-thirds majority government seems lost. It has neither been able to focus on big projects nor on addressing the people’s everyday needs. Monsoon is wrecking havoc across the country. People are dying. Towns and cities are submerged. Villagers have lost their lives in landslides in the hills. Kathmandu is filled with unmanaged garbage. Health experts have already warned of an epidemic. Price of essentials like rice, vegetables and oil is skyrocketing. People do not feel their life is better than it was a few months ago under the premiership of Sher Bahadur Deuba. 

Oli government’s deviation from the fundamentals of democracy is deeply troubling. Any attempt to sabotage the hard-fought freedom will not be accepted. People are mad that Oli government is trying to intimidate Dr KC and his demands to reform the health sector. The statements given by the prime minister himself and his team members right since the crusader started his fifteenth hunger strike were pessimistic. The latest moves of the government have further disappointed the people. A two-thirds majority is not a license to go against the spirit of the constitution. People want real outcome, not just empty rhetoric.

 

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