Dr KC admitted at Bir Hospital for treatment, continues hunger strike under custody
KATHMANDU, Jan 10: Thousands of people from various walks of life came out onto the street on Tuesday against the detention of Dr Govinda KC, professor at the Institute of Medicine (IOM). They chanted slogans calling for his immediate release .
Members of the general public and professionals from various sectors slammed the arrest of Dr KC and expressed solidarity with his cause. Former prime minister and coordinator of Naya Shakti Party Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai, former health minister Gagan Thapa, leaders of different political parties and human rights activists were among those taking part in the rally organized by the Solidarity for Dr KC Alliance in the capital.
Demanding the resignation of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli for reinstating Dr Sashi Sharma as IOM dean, Dr KC started his 14th fast-unto-death Monday. He was arrested Monday evening on the charge of contempt of court.
Speaking at the protest rally, former minister Thapa, who is a central member of the Nepali Congress and a newly elected member of parliament, said they are also ready to face contempt of court for speaking up if there is corruption in the juidiciary. “Dr KC is working for the health rights of ordinary people in the country,” he added.
Similarly, Rabindra Mishra of Bibeksheel Sajha Party urged the government to take up the demands of Dr KC. He called on the government to immediately release Dr KC, pointing out that he did not have any intention of defaming the independent judiciary.
Different organizations and political parties including Bibeksheel Sajha issued statements on Tuesday criticizing the authorities for arresting Dr KC instead of taking action against corrupt officials. They called the arrest a move against the rule of law.
Dr KC, who has been admitted to Bir Hospital for treatment, affirmed that he would continue his hunger strike even under custody. He has presented a seven-point demand including the resignation of Chief Justice Parajuli, immediate formation of the Medical Education Commission, and the appointment of the IOM dean on the basis of seniority, canceling the reinstatement of Dr Shashi Sharma as dean.
The Supreme Court ordered the government on January 7 to reinstate Dr Sharma. The apex court order allows incumbent IOM Dean Dr JP Agrawal and Dr Sharma to work together for the four days that remain in the latter's tenure as dean .
According to Tribhuvan University sources, the university is planning to remove Dr Agrawal after the completion of Dr Sharma's tenure.
Dr KC had undertaken a 13th fast-unto-death from October 5, demanding the passage of the Medical Education Act as per the spirit of the Mathema taskforce report . Dr KC postponed the strike on October 18 after the government assured him it would bring the Act through ordinance. On October 23, the cabinet approved the Medical Education Act ordinance as per the recommendation of the Mathema taskforce.