Watch your languageLaw Minister Tamang’s comments about Nepali girls studying MBBS are unseemly
The outrageous statement by Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang that Nepali female medical students in Bangladesh were ‘submitting themselves’ to their professors to get degree certificates has rightly faced strong criticism. The baseless remark has caused distress to students and their parents.
What’s more, the minister’s statement came just days after Durga Prasain, the owner of B&C Medical Hospital in Birtamod, Jhapa and a confidant to the top leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, made a similar claim at a press conference. Although the minister apologised soon after, he should be held accountable because such words by a person holding a responsible position are uncouth.
Speaking at a farewell function of the Praxis International Academy on Friday, Law Minister Tamang said that Nepali female students pursuing medical education in Bangladesh were vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The minister argued that Nepali girls who are studying or have studied MBBS in Bangladesh were bound to lose their honour to earn their certificates. There are over 2,000 Nepali female students pursuing medical education in Bangladesh.
Video clips of the controversial remarks of Minister Tamang and Prasain went viral on social media. An immediate outcry from politicians, civil society members, medical students and the public set off a backlash against the duo. Such remarks came as Dr Govinda KC has been staging his 15th hunger strike demanding reforms in the country’s medical sector.
Dr KC’s hunger strike against certain provisions in the National Medical Education bill has entered its 24th day, a new record even by the doctor’s own standards. There is widespread anger against the government’s refusal to take steps that would help end KC’s hunger strike as the agitating doctor is seen as a rare voice of conscience against a system where powerful political players collude with unscrupulous businesses to make legislation that protect their business interests.
Prime Minister KP Oli has repeatedly said that his primary goal is to ensure greater prosperity for all Nepalis. But what kind of prosperity will his government bring if its Cabinet members don’t think twice before speaking?
Granted, the PM cannot take responsibility for whatever his ministers say, but he should step in should the people who form his government make such remarks. Also, in his defence, the minister said that his ministry had received complaints of Nepali girl students committing suicide and being subjected to violence. If that is the case, the matter needs to be seriously looked into. Passing loose comments and then retracting such statements is definitely not the way to go about it.