Jul 23, 2018-Around 200 supporters of fasting social activist Dr Govinda KC joined a mass hunger strike organised by the ‘Solidarity for Dr Govinda KC Alliance’ at the Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu on Sunday.
General public, civil society members, students, nurses, doctors and members of political parties observed their fast together from 10am to 5pm. Former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University Kedar Bhakta Mathema, civil society leader Krishna Pahadi, Senior Advocate Surendra Bhandari and human rights activist Nutan Thapaliya, among other noted figures, participated in the protest to express their solidarity with Dr KC, who was on the 23rd day of his 15th hunger strike on Sunday.
The aim of the mass hunger strike was to send a message across that Dr KC is not alone in his fight for reforms in the country’s medical education sector. The protesters pressed the government to address his demands urgently.
Civil society leaders supporting Dr KC’s cause warned the government that a new revolution was brewing as a result of the leftist government’s “undemocratic” moves.
“People are aware of the government’s latest autocratic activities. If they continue, the government may have the same fate as the former king during the Janaandalon II,” said Pahadi, referring to the second people’s movement of 2006 that overthrew monarchy. He added that the protest was not against any political party but some of its corrupt members.
Agitated nurses also joined the fast event against the terror created by the government at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS) in Jumla on Thursday while bringing Dr KC to Kathmandu.
“We nurses take care of others but who will protect us if the government harms us on the hospital premises?” asked Alina Shrestha.
Three farmers–Jugeshwor Mandal (46), Ram Prakash Mandal (45) and Mahendra Yadav (50)–also joined the hunger strike at Basantapur. They had walked all the way to Kathmandu from Dhanusha to support Dr KC’s movement.
“Dr KC is on a hunger strike so that every citizen can have access to quality healthcare and education,” said Jugeshwor. “We’ll not return until the government agrees to Dr KC’s demands.”
Supporters press the government to find a way to address Dr KC’s demands as his health condition worsens day by day. “We’re also ready to talk to a government team if it has a proper mandate. They should be able to implement the decisions reached with us,” said Bhandari about the talks that have not been held for days.
Organisers said the protest will continue on Monday.