KATHMANDU, Dec 18: Upon request by the parliamentary Education and Health Committee on Monday, Dr Govinda KC, senior orthopedic surgeon and professor at the Institute of Medicine, has deferred his scheduled hunger strike for two weeks.
Dr KC had earlier warned that he would begin his 16th hunger strike from December 17 if the July 26 agreement signed between him and the government was not implemented.
Jayapuri Gharti, chairperson of the Education and Health Committee on Sunday requested Dr KC to give the government a few more days to address the demands.
“As per the request from the committee, we have deferred our scheduled protest for two weeks,” said Dr KC in a statement issued on Monday. “We urge the government and parliament to address all the demands raised on November 27 sincerely instead of working for ‘mafia and brokers’. Otherwise, we will be compelled to launch a fast-unto-death from January 1,” he warned, while objecting to the government decision to appoint a non-doctor as secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.
Dr KC’s demands raised on November 27 include taking action against the perpetrators of Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder, bringing Medical Education Act as per the spirit of the Mathema Taskforce report and action against 43 officials implicated by the panel headed by former justice Gauri Bahadur Karki for their involvement in irregularities while granting affiliations to the private medical colleges.
The government had signed a nine-point agreement with Dr KC on July 26 on the 27th day of his 15th fast-unto-death. Dr KC has already staged hunger strike for over 190 days during his 15 fast-unto-death protests since 2012, demanding reforms in medical education sector.
Nearly five months have passed since the agreement, in which the government had promised that implementation of the major demands would start within 15 days to two months.
The Medical Education Ordinance included a provision on 75 percent scholarships in government medical colleges, restriction on the issuing of affiliation to new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for 10 years, issuing of affiliations by one university to only five medical colleges, three-year operation of a hospital before a medical college qualifies for such affiliation, and the opening of at least one government medical college in each of the seven federal provinces.