KATHMANDU, March 7: In what has been described as the first case of civil disobedience by motorists in Nepal, dozens of motorists on Tuesday flouted traffic rules to drive on a road in the capital which was blocked to facilitate a VIP motorcade. The road at Kaiser Mahal was blocked to ease the motorcade of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who was headed toward Nepal Army Headquarters, Bhadrakali from her official residence at Sheetal Niwas to attend a reception marking Army Day, it has been reported.
A video clip shows enraged people ignoring the instructions of traffic police not to drive on the road during the presidential motorcade. The clip has gone viral on Twitter since Tuesday. It clearly shows traffic police still trying to stop motorists from entering the road section . According to police officials, such an act of obstructing a VIP motorcade is a crime against social order. The presidential motorcade had forced hundreds of public and private vehicles including commuters to remain stuck on the Sheetalniwas-Ratnapark-Sundhara road section for half an hour.
The incident shows public outrage after years of traffic hassles in the capital because of VIP movements. Lamenting the incident on Tuesday, former police officials said the video shows that the public has had enough .
According to former traffic police chief and ex-DIG Keshav Adhikari , the public had thought there would be no more trouble from VIP motorcades after the abolition of the monarchy . “However, the number of motorcades remains high even though there is no longer any royal family,”he said.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Office has a different take on the Tuesday incident. It claims that traffic personnel on duty had actually let the motorists onto the road in question. According to SP Jaya Ram Sapkota, spokesperson of MTPO, there was no civil disobedience involved as on-duty personnel had already signaled to motorists that the road block was lifted.
“There were two cops on duty at the spot and one of them had already signaled that the road block was over,” Sapkota said. “The cop seen in the video was confused about the signal from the other cop.”