Civil Society to unveil its manifesto todayAlthough the movement was triggered by the dissolution of the House, it is not going to limit itself to the issue, organisers say.
As the country observes Democracy Day with various functions on Friday, the civil society movement (Brihat Nagarik Andolan) plans to organise a march in the afternoon to mark the occasion and make public its ‘manifesto’ besides reclaiming the public space “captured by the Nepal Army”.
The event comes as questions are being raised about the fate of the civil society movement if the Supreme Court decides to reinstate the House of Representatives and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli decides to step down. But organisers say the event is not just related to the issue of House dissolution.
“Actually, we wanted to present a unified face for all fragmented movements that were quashed and ignored by the state at different times,” said Bhaskar Gautam, one of the organisers. “Due to the incompetence of our representatives, the country has fallen into the quagmire of regression even several years after the promulgation of the new constitution.”
Civil society leaders say their struggle won’t be limited to getting the House reinstated or replacing Oli with another face, though the movement was triggered by the prime minister’s December 20 move to dissolve the House of Representatives.
Civil society movements in Nepal have gone through several upheavals—rising with the pressing political issues in 1990 and 2006 and falling once the purpose of the movement is over. But on Friday, the leaders of the Brihat Nagarik Andolan are preparing to reveal the movement’s purpose through a manifesto.
According to Gautam, several movements held in the past were dismissed in the name of racism or communalism, but now the civil society movement will not just express solidarity with agitating political parties, but forcefully assert its agenda through street protests.
“Firstly, we want to respond to the diversity and complexity of our society,” Gautam told the Post. “This was an issue raised during the 2006 movement but is yet to be addressed.
“Second, with the struggle, we want to reclaim the political process as it is gradually slipping from our hands,” he added.
The members of the civil society have been saying that the country’s politics started regressing right from the days of the second Constituent Assembly. They argue that it was institutionalised with the 16-point agreement among the parties which the leaders promptly endorsed to draft the constitution, leaving a sizable section of the society, including Madhesis, Dalits, and Janajatis disappointed.
After having to field questions from the members of the civil society, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Nepal-led faction of the Nepal Communist Party, is preparing to issue a “commitment paper” to convince all the sections of the society about their stance on social problems and how they are going to address them.
Several civil society members had started the “Occupy Tundikhel” movement in November 2019, but it was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now with the resumption of Brihat Nagarik Andolan, that issue would also be raised, according to leaders involved in the struggle.
“Our struggle was affected by the pandemic, but we will resume it once again with more vigour,” said Ganapati Lal Shrestha, one of the leaders of the Occupy Tundikhel movement. “The army has occupied all open space in Tundikhel, we have been reclaiming them as public space.”