Parties agree to form special committee, ending House deadlockSpecial panel formed after a month-long deadlock will deal with contentious issues in Parliament.
A month-long deadlock in the House of Representatives ended on Monday after the opposition parties gave up their demand for forming a parliamentary panel to investigate two incidents of death in Sarhali in June, and forged an agreement with the ruling party to form a special committee to deal with contentious issues in the House.
Several rounds of cross-party meetings in the past three days resulted in the seven-member special committee, led by Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader and former Speaker Subas Nembang. The committee will have representatives from the four major parties in Parliament. The Nepali Congress and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal had been obstructing parliamentary proceedings since July 9 demanding that a committee be formed to investigate the deaths of Kumar Paudel, the Sarlahi district chief of the Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand, and Saroj Narayan Mahato, another Sarlahi resident, in police action.
The ruling party, however, had argued that forming a parliamentary committee would set a precedent for appointing House committees in all such cases in the future.
Nepali Congress Whip Pushpa Bhusal said her party agreed to resolve the deadlock as it wanted to make optimum use of Parliament to raise people’s issues. The special committee will decide the conditions to form parliamentary committees as demanded.
“The special committee that will function under the supervision of the Speaker will work to resolve the disputes that could arise in the House in the future,” said Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, announcing the formation of the Nembang-led committee.
The opposition leaders say the end of deadlock is an example that parties can resolve any contentious issues through dialogue and negotiations. “We have agreed to make House proceedings fruitful by ending the ongoing deadlock,” Raj Kishore Yadav, a presidium member of the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, told the House.
As the National Human Rights Commission is also investigating Paudel’s death, formation of the House panel could overlap the investigation, the leaders argued. Though the government has said police fired in retaliation and that Paudel was killed in an encounter, the rights watchdog launched its own investigation after it received complaints from family members accusing security forces of killing him in custody.
The commission is studying the autopsy and police reports after its preliminary investigation suggested that he was killed under suspicious circumstances. It also has registered the statements from the six police personnel involved in the killings and has inquired witnesses.
“The constitutional body is investigating the incident. The formation of another committee, therefore, could overlap the process. Those found guilty will be booked,” Dev Gurung, the NCP chief whip, told the Post. Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs formed an inquiry panel led by an under-secretary at the ministry, which concluded that Paudel had first opened fire at the police and was killed when the latter fired in retaliation.