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The Good, The Bad, and The Untouchables

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Dr. KC March 27 836We have two untouchables in Nepal: the ones most others don’t want to touch and the ones most others can’t touch!

The former are those belonging to the lowest caste, the Dalits, referred to, and treated as, “untouchables” — unclean, polluted and polluting — by Nepalis following traditional, but archaic and outmoded, Hindu System of classification of people based on a spurious logic: the Caste System.

The latter are the powerful and very well-connected, with a lot of source-force, who no one can touch, regardless of their transgression.

We have laws and policies in place to counter both. We have laws and policies to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to rein in those who think of themselves, and act, as if they are above everyone else.

His demands.
His demands.

Sadly, those who are supposed to enforce those laws and policies are part of the latter group. What’s more, having been sold to money and, therefore, extremely corrupt, the enforcers themselves are morally bankrupt and have no conscience, making the former and the rest of the population suffer grave injustices, every single day.

You name it, pretty much every system in Nepal is corrupt to the core — the education system, the medical system, the judiciary…everything, and those who benefit from these corrupt systems are, of course, the latter of the two untouchables!

Dr. Govinda KC, by all accounts, is a good man, an upstanding man, a man of principles, a man of conviction, a man of integrity!

He has run a campaign to change the corrupt medical system — specifically the way the so-called “medical mafia” in Nepal have hijacked the process of medical education.

The “medical mafia” are no other than many of the latter untouchables.

Finding no other means and having exhausted all avenues, when I heard that he had once again resumed his fast-onto-death campaign recently, I visited Teaching Hospital last Friday and Saturday.

I am doing this little bit because the life of a good man is worth something, the life of a principled man is worth something.

I am doing this to show that, while each one of us ordinary citizens in Nepal might be ignored by the State as pawns and tossed around in a game of politics, power and money, principles and convictions matter, if not for our own personal selves within what remains of our lives, then for the future health of the country, for the future of the younger generations who will inherit this beautiful country!

I shall be following the progress of the campaign while I visit the US, and I shall also be updating this page as and when I am able.

In the mean time, you can sign the change dot org petition demanding the government of Nepal fulfill Dr. KC’s demands.

On Facebook, ‘like’ and follow the Solidarity for Prof. Govinda Facebook Page.

Follow the links below for more about the campaign:

 

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April 1 Update

The following are links to recent articles about the Doctor.

 

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April 3 Update

Apparently the government has agreed to meet Dr. KC’s demands, and he has broken his fast! Only time will tell if those morally bankrupt politicians are actually serious or, again, just playing their game.

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9:15 pm (US Pacific Time), August 24, 2015 Update

So it seems, Dr. K. C. has had to revert back his fast-unto-death campaign, sadly! According to this Republica article, the honorable doctor proclaimed he would “resume his hunger strike from 4 pm Monday” Nepali time, which means he’s already been at it for more than 12 hours! (It’s Tuesday morning, August 25 in Nepal now.)

 

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1:57 pm (US Pacific Time) September 5, 2015 Update

GOOD NEWS!! GOOD NEWS!!!

According to the following post on Solidarity for Prof. Govinda KC Facebook Page, two hours ago, there’s been an 11-point agreement between the government and Dr. KC. The Doctor will end his fast!

Additional references:

  • Nepali Times (September): Manufacturing fake doctors. Article outlining the issues with our medical system that Dr. Govinda KC is fighting to correct.

Video made by my friend and fellow UWCer Subina Shrestha for Al Jazeera.

 

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2:12 pm (US Pacific Time), September 27, 2015 Update

The Doctor has gone back to fasting again! According to this Facebook post, he resumed his 7th fast-unto-death campaign just a little over a week ago on September 19, 2015.

 

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2:41 pm (Kathmandu Time), June 26, 2016 Update

I don’t know what became of the above fast-unto-death campaign, when it ended or why etc. But, he is promising to stage another campaign on July 10. This one demanding the impeachment of Lokman Singh Karki, the chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). (Article in The Himalayan Times about the same.)

 

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2:10 pm (Kathmandu Time), June 28, 2016 Update of the same

His demands and their basis: डा. केसीले अख्तियार प्रमुखलाई महाभियोग लगाउनुपर्ने मागका आधारहरू.

And here’s CIAA’s response:

 

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1:09 pm (Kathmandu Time), June 29, 2016 Update

The spokesperson for CIAA, Krishna Hari Pushkar, according to the transcript of an interview with BBC Nepali Service reiterate their stance on Dr. KC — that he is mentally ill. When the interviewer doesn’t let Pushkar off the hook, all he does is dig a bigger and bigger hole for himself. He continuously hurls ad hominem attack on Dr. KC, and does his utmost to discredit the Doctor instead of addressing his demands.

When I came across the article, I tweeted the following.

Sadly, the manner in which individuals like Pushkar reason, make cases for or justify action against others, is not unusual or exceptional in Nepal. I have seen and heard enough of the like to be able to say that. As a matter of fact, if I may be so bold, the favorite tactics of Nepalese, in general, when responding to an argument or criticism, is indeed to attack the person and say everything they can to discredit him/her, instead of the argument! Pushkar has shown that even someone representing a constitutional body, such as the CIAA, is no different in that regard.

And yet, we are supposed to pin our hopes for a better, and improved, Nepal — a Nepal that has considerably more respect for law and order, for instance — on people like him!

Do we dare even hope?!

 

Follow links below for more:

There’s also a Change.org petition started on July 23: Save the Life of Dr. Govinda KC, Fulfill All His Demands.

 

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5:01 pm, July 24, 2016 Update

The Government of Nepal and Dr. KC come to a four-point agreement!

July 25, 2016 update

 

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October 20, 2016 Update

A little late in coming but c’est la vie!

So, after the end of the 8th hunger strike on July 25, when the government failed keep to the 4-point agreement singed that day, on Sept. 10, Dr. KC announced he would be going back to his 9th hunger strike in ten days. On Sept. 12, the government tabled the Health Profession bill. “But he [Dr. KC] warned on Saturday [Sept. 15] that he would again stage fast-unto-death if his demands are not addressed by September 18.”

On September 19, he makes a pronouncement saying, “I’ve postponed the hunger strike as the government provided a draft to execute three of the four-point agreement[.]” He threatens to go back to his hunger strike if impeachment motion is not filed in the parliament against Lokman Singh Karki.

On September 26, Dr. KC began his 9th hunger strike saying, “As its clear that our demands will not be fulfilled without more pressure, I am staging hunger strike from 4 pm today[.]”

On October 7 however, Dr. KC ends the strike temporarily in light of Dassain festival, but set to resume after the festivities.

Other relevant articles:

 

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November 14, 2016 Update

So, once again, the Doctor has gone back to his hunger strike. This is the 10th one and he started it yesterday afternoon. Here’s a reproduction of the demands as they appear in the article.

Demands

–     Appoint dean at the Institute of Medicine on the basis of seniority
–     Sack Tirtha Raj Khaniya from the post of vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University
–     Fix MBBS course fees at Rs 3.5 million and Rs 3.85 million in Kathmandu Valley and outside the Valley respectively
–     Fixing the course fees for Bachelor in Dentistry at Rs 2 million
–     Halt affiliations to medical colleges until a new medical bill is approved by Parliament

Reproduced below are the dates of all his strikes also as they appear in the article.

Surgeon’s earlier fasts-unto-death

Date               Number of days
July 5-8, ’12                    4
Aug 11-17, ’12                  6
Jan 11-24, ’14                 14
Feb 8-15, ’14                   8
Feb 20-March 3, ’15      12
Aug 24-Sept 6, ’15        14
Sept 19-29, ’5                 11
July 10-25, ’16               16
Sept 26-Oct 7                12

 

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December 4, 2016 Update

Dr. KC ended his 10th fast-unto-death hunger strike today. The Doctor and the government have come to a 12-point agreement.

For more read:

 

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July 25, 2017 Update

A little over a week ago, Dr. KC threatened to go on yet another (the 11th) fast-unto-death hunger strike according to this article in The Kathmandu Post (published on July 17).

According to the following Tweet, he began his strike yesterday as promised.

 

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March 7, 2018 Update

More on the 11th hunger strike and related articles:

On August 15, he postponed the strike “citing the floods and landslides wreaked havoc across the nation recently” according to this article in The Himalayan Times. He had been on it for 23 days by then.

The 12th Strike

He began the 12th strike on September 25, 2017, according to this article in The Himalayan Times, with a five-point demand. Notably, the protest,

“was against the government preparations to pass the National Medical Education Bill- 2074 BS from the Legislature-Parliament without any amendments.”

More on this round of hunger strike:

The 13th Strike

After postponing his 12th in September, he launched his 13th strike on October 6, 2017 “demanding that the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill be endorsed immediately keeping the recommendations made by a team of experts intact.” This time, the demands also included “Allocation of necessary budget to run academic programmes in the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Jumla.”

More on this round of strike:

According to The Kathmandu Post (Oct 19, 2017), Dr Govinda KC broke his 13th fast-unto-death Wednesday after 14 days following the government’s promise to enact a law incorporating the provisions of the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill through an ordinance.

Another article about the same:

The 14th Strike

This round of hunger strike began Monday, Jan 8, 2018. His demand this time? “Resignation of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli.” Just the day before, the Surpreme Court had issued orders to reinstate Dr Shashi Sharma as the dean of Institute of Medicine (IoM). And the history?
“The TU Executive Council on January 10, 2014 had appointed Dr Sharma as the Dean of IoM. But after Dr KC’s hunger strike and widespread criticisms from various quarters, the then Chairman of the Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi had ordered TU to relieve Sharma as IoM dean on January 22, 2014.”

According to MyRepublica, Dr KC made 11 allegations against CJ Parajuli. That provoked the Supreme Court to slap a contempt of court case against the Doctor and is arrested for it. On January 9, the Doctor gives his statement at the Supreme Court! He is released on January 10 without bail with a hearing date of February 20. The court also orders the procurement of “copies of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli’s two citizenship certificates, Judicial Council’s decision on his age controversy and copies of his academic certificates.” The Doctor vows to continue his fasting.

On January 13, after securing a five-point deal, the Doctor ended his 14th hunger strike. But vows to continue his crusade against CJ Gopal Parajuli to force him to resign over the issues of “authenticity of [Parajuli’s] citizenship and School Leaving Certificate.” He vowed to fast again if it comes to that!

On February 20, “Dr KC refuses to accept hearing date on contempt of court case” arguing “There will not be an impartial hearing until CJ Parajuli is in the post”[.] How can you trust a CJ, who seems to have no regard for conflict of interest, to be impartial?!?

 

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Another article which sheds some light on the kid of man Parajuli is.

  • The Kathmandu Post (March 11, 2018). Parajuli misuses his office to fix rivals. According to this article, CJ Parajuli has been involved in a number of irregularities.The following confirms what Dr. KC alleged! “The meeting fixed his date of birth as April 28, 1953 and recommended his name in Constitutional Council. If the date of birth submitted when he was appointed as justice of Supreme Court, he could have become chief justice for only 56 days, the corrected date of birth allowed him to hold office of 10 months and 23 days.” [Added on March 12, 2018.]

 

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March 15, 2018 Update

So, the Judicial Council (JC) Secretariat finally confirms what Dr. Govinda had contended (before he went on his 14th hunger strike), for which he was hauled into court to face contempt of court charges! According to The Kathmandu Post,

“The Judicial Council on Wednesday relieved Chief Justice (CJ) Gopal Prasad Parajuli of the top post of judiciary citing he has crossed the retirement age based on his citizenship and academic certificates.”
And further clarifies,
‘“According to a secretary level decision of March 14, 2018, we inform that respectable Gopal Prasad Parajuli no longer remains in the post of Chief Justice as he has crossed the retirement age of 65 on August 5, 20017,” read the letter issued by JC Secretary Niraula.’

What of the abuse of his position of Chief Justice that he obviously got through falsification of his documents?! But, of course, I am asking too much! Way too too much!

March 23, 2018 update

The plot thickens! Apparently, according to this article in My Republica, the supreme court has sought clarification on the case against the former CJ! The short article reads thus:

KATHMANDU, March 23: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered its own administration to clarify why it had earlier refused to register a contempt of court case brought against the then chief justice Gopal Parajuli.

A single bench of Justice Harikrishna Karki issued the order following a hearing on the case Thursday, which was registered on Thursday itself. The bench asked the case registration section of the administration to furnish clarifications outlining the reasons for the refusal. The contempt of court case was brought by advocate Manoj Kumari Adhikari, who accused Parajuli of undermining the dignity of the post of chief justice and judiciary by possessing academic credentials with varying dates of birth.

The petitioner has also sought one year’s jail and a fine of Rs 10,000 fine for the chief justice in line with the Justice Administration Act, 2017.

 

 

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