The Solidarity for Dr Govinda KC Alliance—a loose coalition of supporters of the physician’s indefinite hunger strike—organised a rally in Kathmandu on Saturday to press the government to address his demands. On the 22nd day of Dr KC’s 15th hunger strike, they also chanted slogans against the leftist government’s “autocratic” moves.
The protest was joined by thousands of people including civil society members, political leaders, students and celebrities. The march that started from Maitighar in the Capital also saw the participation of former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, former chief justice Sushila Karki, leftist writer Khagendra Sangroula, former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University Kedar Bhakta Mathema and civil society leader Krishna Pahadi, among other noted figures.
Calling the KP Sharma Oli-led government undemocratic, rights activist and civil society leader Pahadi accused it of taking decisions that were against not only the people but also the law.
“The government crossed the democratic line when it abducted Dr KC from Jumla,” said Pahadi, warning the
government to correct its actions or face a mass hunger strike.
Writer Sangroula likened the governing coalition to the autocratic regime of then-king Gyanendra Shah. The government must save its grace by agreeing to the demands of Dr KC, he remarked.
Former chief justice Karki warned the government of a nationwide movement if it did not address the demands of Dr KC urgently.
“People voted for this government to work to the benefit of the whole nation. We are asking it to accept Dr KC’s demands, which benefit the whole nation,” she said. Dr KC does not belong to any political party, she added. “He is a combined voice of all people”.
Supporters of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) were also seen at the demonstration. Gautam Rai, an organised member of the NCP, said a political party member need not back the wrong decisions of his
party but they should fight against wrong decisions even if it goes against their own party.
The campaigners have announced a “mass hunger strike” at Basantapur in the Capital from 10am to 5pm on Sunday to express solidarity with Dr KC’s fast-unto-death.