Team formed to talk to Dr KCThe government has formed a two-member talks team to negotiate with Dr Govinda KC, the senior orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital whose tenth indefinite hunger strike entered the 14th day on Saturday.
The government has formed a two-member talks team to negotiate with Dr Govinda KC, the senior orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital whose tenth indefinite hunger strike entered the 14th day on Saturday.
A meeting held at the Ministry of Education decided to form the committee led by Education Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha with Health Secretary Dr Senendra Raj Upreti as the member. The team met with Dr KC on Saturday afternoon. “We took stock of his health condition. We will formally begin talks on Sunday morning,” said Shrestha, adding that they were committed to addressing Dr KC’s demands.
While Dr KC has assigned a team led by Dr Ranjan Sapkota of the Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre to negotiate on his behalf, he has refused to sit for negotiations without the government releasing 30 of his supporters who had been arrested during protests earlier in the day. Dr KC has demanded that the government release the arrested and issue a public apology within 24 hours.
Dr KC, who has already staged nine hunger strikes in the past against the anomalies in the health sector and medical education, is protesting the appointment of Dr KP Singh as the dean of the TU Institute of Medicine this time. Dr Singh was not the senior most professor among the names considered for the dean’s job. He has also demanded endorsement of the bill on Health Profession Education Commission and autonomy for the IoM, among others.
Doctors, supporters arrested
Police arrested over 30 protesters who were demonstrating outside the residence of Tirtha Khaniya, the TU vice-chancellor. Khaniya’s ouster is another of Dr KC’s demands for his “meddling” in the IoM and the dean appointment.
Dr Leision Maharjan, president of the National Resident Doctors Association, condemned the police action. “We were staging a peaceful protest. Yet, they arrested our friends,” said Dr Maharjan, a member of the talks team on KC’s side. According to him, one of the arrestees is a medical doctor and four MBBS students.
DSP Nawaraj Adhikari of the Metropolitan Police Circle, Kalimati said they had orders to arrest people demonstrating outside the vice-chancellor’s residence. “We asked them to stage a protest on the road. We arrested them when they proceeded towards the residence despite warning,” said DSP Adhikari.