KATHMANDU, Jan 25: Senior orthopedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC on Thursday said that his struggle since 2012 was never targeted against any political party or group, any individual, organization or institution, but it was for establishing a proper system in medical education in the country.“I don't have any bias or prejudice against any political party, individual, institution or organization.
I have just fought for reform in the medical sector for the last seven years,” said Dr KC in a letter to parliamentarians. “I have nothing to do with other minor concerns but am only concerned with establishing a system in the medical sector to ensure affordable and quality medical education and health care for ordinary people," he said.
Dr. KC, who is now on the 16th day of his 16th fast-unto-death, said he has staged protests against all governments of almost all the political parties.
According to sources, he has never raised a single word about the infamous case of rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta or about conflict-era transitional justice. These issues were included among his demands in suspicious fashion at the time of the latest hunger strike by some politically-motivated campaigners from a newly established party in order to defame or weaken his crusade.
Dr KC, who first went on a fast-unto-death in July 2012, launched his 16th hunger strike on January 9 in Ilam, demanding implementation of the nine-point agreement signed between himself and the government on July 26, 2018 before he ended his 15th fast.
The nine-point agreement included passage of a Medical Education Act, taking action against 43 officials involved in irregularities while issuing affiliation to private medical colleges, and opening at least one government medical college in each of the seven provinces within five years.“I staged 15 hunger strikes in the last seven years only to improve medical education,” said Dr KC in his letter to parliamentarians. “I believe that people's health cannot be improved until medical education is improved . People in the rural areas must get inexpensive, accessible and good quality medical education services,” he said.
Dr KC said that he was disheartened when the agreement signed with him was flouted and a Medical Education Ordinance that was twice approved was discarded while bringing the new Medical Education Bill. “If the proposed bill, which has been tabled in parliament, is approved as it is, my campaign for improving medical education will remain incomplete,” he said . “So I appeal to lawmakers not to decide such a serious issue under the sway of others,” he said.Dr KC further said that he was not against opening private medical colleges outside Kathmandu Valley. “My concern is to open five government medical colleges within five years in the first stage in the provinces where there are no medical colleges ,” he said.
“I am always in favor of opening medical colleges in the remote areas of the country to bring health services and education to ordinary people who cannot reach the cities for treatment.”“I am just an ordinary citizen. It's not my obstinacy or ego but an urge for truth,” said Dr KC, recalling the moments after the signing of the agreement to end his 15th hunger strike. “The agreement was signed at the initiative of former speaker and incumbent lawmaker Subas Chandra Nembang and lawmaker and NCP leader Bishnu Paudel.
At the time, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli called me to Baluwatar and talked with me for two hours. He assured me of implementing the agreement. As a result, lawmaker Dev Gurung registered an amendment proposal to the Bill to include all the demands conceded in the agreement,” said Dr KC.“I don't believe that the agreements and commitments made by governments and leaders were just fake assurances .
So I hope the responsible bodies, leaders and authorities will bring a law in favor of ordinary people and students instead of certain business groups,” he concluded in his letter. “It is either ensuring the fundamental rights of the people or snatching these away .”Meanwhile, Nepal Medical Association (NMA), the professional organization of doctors, called an emergency meeting on Thursday to intensify protests to save Dr KC's life. It urged doctors not to waver in their firm support for Dr KC's movement.
Similarly, organizing a press meet on Thursday, lawmaker and former health minister Gagan Thapa said Dr KC's demands are just. “The government should implement the agreement it signed with the agitating doctor,” he added. “The government should be responsible towards the people and towards its own commitments.”Also, civil society leaders, who held an interaction Thursday, urged the government to hold talks with Dr KC and address his demands. They included advocate Dinesh Tripathi and Krishna Pahadi.