Ruling party stands firm against forming probe committee, opposition obstructs HouseOpposition lawmakers refuse to buy government’s argument on deaths of Chand party member and Madhesi man in police action.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party’s rigid stance against the formation of a probe panel to investigate into two incidents of death in Sarlahi district led to the obstruction of the House of Representatives meeting for the second consecutive day on Wednesday.
Following Tuesday’s obstruction by the Nepali Congress and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara had called a business advisory committee meeting in an attempt to forge a consensus on demands of the two opposition parties.
The two parties are demanding a parliamentary probe committee to investigate into the deaths of Kumar Paudel, the district chief of the banned Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand, and Saroj Narayan Mahato, a local from the district, in police action.
In the meeting on Wednesday, the NCP leaders said the formation of parliamentary committees in such incidents would set a precedent which would lead to setting up of House committees in every such case.
The business advisory committee meeting that lasted around 90 minutes failed to yield any result, prompting the opposition to resort to House obstruction.
In the business advisory committee meeting, ruling party leaders had said they were positive about the formation of a sub-committee under a parliamentary committee on Law and Justice or State Affairs Committee. They had argued that there should be a clear distinction on cases to be dealt with by the House and the government.
“We agree these cases are sensitive but we should also know that forming a parliamentary probe committee in every case is impractical,” Shanta Chaudhary, whip of the NCP told the Post. “We think the House shouldn’t intervene in every incident”.
She said the State Affairs Committee, which is looking into the matter, should be allowed to arrive at a conclusion.
The opposition, however, argued that as the matter had entered Parliament, it should intervene and take it to the conclusion.
Leaders of the Congress party and the Rastriya Janata Party said it was wrong to argue that forming an investigation team will set a precedent as there are instances when Parliament has investigated into such incidents in the past.
“The ruling party was not sensitive about the matter. Deaths of two people in suspicious incidents cannot be taken lightly,” Pushpa Bhusal, the Congress whip told the Post.
She expressed her surprise at the ruling party’s opposition to forming a probe committee even as Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa and Speaker Mahara said they were positive about it.
While answering to the concerns of lawmakers on Tuesday, Thapa had said it was Parliament’s prerogative to form such committees.
Similarly, Mahara had also said he would take initiative to forge a consensus among the party.
Bhusal said the report presented by Thapa in the House was not reliable. “How could a person with a broken hand and a leg open fire on the police?” she questioned, suspecting the report which said Paudel was killed in an encounter.
The government had formed an inquiry committee, also comprising police officials, under a joint secretary at the Home Ministry. The inquiry report was submitted to the State Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “I can comment only after studying the report,” Shashi Shrestha, chairperson of the committee, told the Post. She said the report will be discussed in the House committee within a few days.
The meeting of the House of Representatives was run forcibly, despite demonstration from the opposition, for around 10 minutes to endorse four bills related to the budget.
Mahara ignored the sloganeering, deployed marshals and continued the meeting. The House meeting has been adjourned until Monday.