PM Oli reiterated the benefits of turmeric, and bragged about Nepalis’ immune system
KATHMANDU, July 5: It has been 10 days since Pukar Bam, 32, last ate and drank something. When Republica reached HAMS Hospital to meet Bam on Saturday, he could barely talk. He had no energy in him. A life sustaining fluid was being injected into his body to keep him alive.
Bam, along with Iih, has been on a hunger strike for the last 10 days demanding the government be transparent and increase the ambit of COVID-19 testing across the country.
Though the government has been reluctant in fulfilling the youths’ demands, Bam is not ready to quit. “I am ready to die. But, I am not going to break the hunger strike unless the government fulfills the simple demands presented by the youths,” said Bam.
On June 26, a group of four youths – Pukar Bam, Iih, Sudan Gurung and Subani Sijapati – of the “Enough is Enough” campaign started a hunger strike on the premises of Patan Durbar Square. But, after a few days of hunger strike, the health condition of Bam started to deteriorate, and he was admitted to the HAMS Hospital.
“Our demands are simple. We just want the government to be transparent and accountable. It is not that difficult to increase the ambit of testing. But, if the government doesn’t fulfill our genuine demands, I am ready to die for the people,” said Bam, who is an academician by profession.
Bam has always been inspired by Dr Govinda KC, who has staged hunger strikes time and again, demanding better health care services and medical education for the general public. Since Dr KC started the hunger strike, Bam has worked as a lead campaigner.
“I have always been inspired and motivated by Dr KC. He has always presented genuine demands. However, the government always signs a written commitment to fulfill his demands. But the demands are never fulfilled,” said Bam.
He feels that the government will give a written commitment to them and never fulfill their demands. “We are not breaking the hunger strike even if the government gives a written commitment. We will continue the strike and see the government’s response in battling COVID-19 for a certain period of time before breaking the fast,” according to Bam.
After Bam was admitted to HAMS, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli visited the hospital to meet him. Even during a brief conversation with Bam and Iih, Oli bragged about Nepalis’ immune system and the benefits of turmeric water to cure COVID-19.
“The prime minister talked about the benefits of turmeric water. Occupying such a high and prestigious position, the PM should not make irresponsible comments,” said Bam: “The PM made us laugh. Even the health officials here were surprised listening to the comments made by our PM.”
Though Bam is associated with the Bibeksheel Party, he says the movement is not political, and he, along with other youths, has been staging protests independently for people who can’t raise their voices. He had also contested the Constitutional Assembly elections from Kathmandu constituency-8 in 2070 and 2074.
Currently, he is working as a department coordinator at K & K International College.