That was appallingThe way the state used force to bring Dr KC to Kathmandu is deplorable
It was unfortunate that the state used brutal force in Jumla to bring back agitating orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC to Kathmandu. In any democratic society, use of brutal force, that too on hospital premises, is the last thing one would expect.
The KP Oli-led government opted for highhandedness over peaceful means against Dr KC who has been staging a fast-unto-death in Jumla for the last 20 days demanding a medical education law in line with the recommendations of the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led task force.
While there is an urgent need to take care of Dr KC whose health condition has been deteriorating, the way police force was used is highly deplorable. Police resorted to a baton charge—injuring more than a dozen students, doctors and nurses—soon after Karnali Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and Law Minister Naresh Bhandari exited the Karnali Academy of Health Science premises.
What’s more, a police officer was badly injured following a clash between police and citizens. Such was police highhandedness that security personnel misbehaved with members of the media and even threatened to destroy their equipment if they took photographs of the events.
Amid widespread pressure and deteriorating health condition of Dr KC, the government seems to be moving, albeit slowly, to resolve the crisis. An emergency secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) on Wednesday evening decided to take the necessary steps to save the life of the senior orthopaedic surgeon.
It would have been prudent to withdraw the National Medical Education Bill from Parliament to make a conducive environment for dialogue with the agitating doctor. Instead, the government is still adamant on not withdrawing the bill, as Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel declared publicly on Thursday.Pokharel reiterated the government’s stand that the National Medical Education Bill would not be withdrawn from Parliament.
The government must understand that it is steadily losing people’s faith amid widespread anger against the government’s refusal to take steps to end Dr KC’s hunger strike. The government would do well to reflect how the current crisis can be resolved in a way that both the spirit of Dr KC’s 15th hunger strike and the recommendations of the Mathema panel are honoured.
It is not a matter of satisfying one’s ego, but of larger reform in the country’s medical education sector which is plagued by naked commercialisation. The bill in its current form is far from what has been envisaged by the Mathema panel. Since Parliament has been adjourned for eight days, this period should also be used to forge a consensus so that a bill acceptable to all can be tabled.
Now that Dr KC has been brought back to Kathmandu, serious efforts should be made to address his demands. The government must be flexible in order to resolve the crisis, even if it calls for withdrawing the National Medical Health Bill from Parliament.