Hundreds Join Hunger Strike In Nepal For Fasting Doctor

KATHMANDU: Hundreds of people today held protest rallies in Nepal and began a mass relay hunger strike to protest the government’s crackdown on the supporters of a prominent doctor and activist who has been fasting for nearly a month, demanding reforms in the country’s medical sector.
Dr Govinda KC, 61, a noted orthopedic surgeon and professor, has been fasting since June 30, demanding better health care services to the people of all economic backgrounds and restrictions on mushrooming private medical colleges in the country.
Yesterday, dozens of protesters were injured in clashes with police at a demonstration outside the country’s parliament in support of the hunger-striking doctor.
Police fired multiple rounds of teargas shells and resorted to baton charge after the protestors raising anti-government slogans tried to enter the restricted area near the Parliament building at Nayabeneshwor.
Various groups today staged protests in Kathmandu and Jajarkot district in far-west Nepal to oppose yesterday’s crackdown on the massive protest rally.
A large number of supporters of the fasting doctor Govinda KC today began a mass hunger strike at Basantapur courtyard in Kathmandu.
Dr KC has been staging his 15th hunger strike demanding reforms in country’s medical sector.
Nepal Tarun Dal, youth wing of opposition Nepali Congress organised protest rally in Khalanga of Jajarkot to protest against police’s action during the yesterday’s rally.
Addressing the protest rally in Jajarkot, Tarun Dal president Harishchand Basnet said they would continue the protest against the crackdown by “autocratic” Oli led government to protect democratic rights in the country.
Dr KC was last week forcibly airlifted to Kathmandu from Jumla where he had been on an indefinite hunger-strike.
He began his fast after the government introduced a Bill on medical education in Parliament, which, according to him, went against the spirit of previous negotiations and understandings reached with him.
He has been demanding that universities should stop giving affiliations to private medical colleges in Kathmandu.
His other demands were that each region should have one medical college, in which reasonable fees and scholarships to the poor were guaranteed.