KATHMANDU, May 27: With the country still busy with local elections, ordinary people and experts from different sectors have suggested to Dr Govinda KC, professor at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), not to stage another fast-unto-death Saturday. However, Dr KC is determined to do just that.
Although his demands were just and the state has shown negligence toward addressing them, people from the medical sector said this was not the right time for another fast-unto-death. “We don't doubt his dedication to reforming the medical sector. But the situation is not right for a hunger strike,” said Dr Madhur Basnet, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan.
Dr Jivan Kshetry, who was coordinator of the Solidarity with Dr KC Alliance at the time of Dr KC's last hunger strike, also feels that another hunger strike would be more appropriated after the local elections are out of the way. “During the polls, the state, civil society and other sectors will be focused on the elections,” he said. “If Dr KC goes for a strike after the elections, all of these will lend him their support and generate pressure in his favor,” he added.
All of them have urged Dr KC to postpone the hunger strike scheduled to begin from May 27. “Dr KC can start his strike after that. We do, however, express our solidarity with him for ending anarchy in medical education,” said Dr Basnet.
Dr KC, a senior orthopedic surgeon at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital,on May 23 extended his ultimatum to the government for three days and decided to stage his 11th fast-unto-death from May 27.
The six-day ultimatum issued on May 17 to press his two-point demand ended on Tuesday. Under the agreement reached before Dr KC ended his previous hunger strike, the government was to fulfill his demands by May 22. However, the government has not taken any decision regarding these as of May 23.
Organizing a press meet on May 17 at Maharajgunj, Dr KC issued a two-point statement demanding the withdrawal of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki and implementation of past agreements, including bringing in the proposed Medical Education Act within six days.
Parliamentarians from Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Center had registered an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Karki last month. However, a writ petition was filed against the motion and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the chief justice, enabling her to return to her duties.
“I am forced to go for another hunger strike if only for the sake of good governance and rule of law,” said Dr KC. “The Court ordered the reinstatement of Chief Justice Karki but did not do anything about the political parties. These have interfered with the judiciary for their own vested interests,” he said. “So, I am sitting for a strike until the parties withdraw the impeachment motion against the CJ.”
Dr KC began his 10th fast-unto-death from November 13 to protest against anarchy in the medical education sector and the fast ended three weeks later in another agreement with the government. The 12-point agreement was reached with government representatives on December 4.
The agreement includes bringing a Medical Education Act, implementing past agreements, stopping the affiliation of private medical colleges until new regulations are in place, ending the commercialization of medical education, forming a panel to probe irregularities in the medical sector, opening a government medical college in each province, and taking action against Tribhuvan University officials who resorted to undermining medical education.