RPP members clash with cops, dozens hurt
- Party is protesting against EC move of removing ‘Hindu state’ and ‘monarchy’ from its statute
DPM Thapa’s party has said it will launch street protests from today if the EC fails to withdraw its Friday’s decision
Mar 21, 2017-
Tension ran high in and around Jamal area on Monday when supporters of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), a coalition partner in the government, clashed with police when the party’s rally led by it senior leaders tried to enter the prohibited zone to submit a memorandum to the Election Commission (EC).
The coalition partner in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government is protesting against the EC’s Friday’s decision of removing “Hindu state” and “monarchy” from its party statute.
Police fired tear gas shells and charged baton after dozens of RPP cadres tried to move towards the EC headquarters to submit their memo to demand that the poll body reconsider its decision. Party’s former chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana was among the three dozen RPP supporters injured in the clash. RPP lawmakers Bikram Bahadur Thapa and Sayendra Bantawa and party central members Roshan Karki, Komal Oli, Nirmala Shrestha and Pooja Rana were also injured in Monday’s clash.
Party Chairman Kamal Thapa, who is also the deputy prime minister and minister for federal affairs and local development, had reached the Jamal area following the clash.
The RPP in its statute submitted to the EC while registering the party mentioned “Hindu state” and “monarchy” which were removed by the constitutional body, claiming that those parts contravened the constitutional provisions of secularism and republican order.
“Our party condemns police brutality on peaceful protests,” said RPP’s Spokesperson Bhuban Pathak after Monday’s incident.
As part of the party’s protest plan, the RPP on Monday submitted memorandums to district election offices across the country.
The RPP is the fourth largest party in Parliament and now has 37 lawmakers after two RPPs--Thapa-led RPP and Rana-led RPP-Nepal--merged to become one in November.
The party advocates reinstatement of Nepal as a Hindu state and “democracy with space for monarchy”.
The party has four ministers in the government, including DPM Thapa.
A day after the EC struck down the two provisions from the party’s statute, DPM and RPP Chair Thapa on Saturday had warned that the poll body’s move could ruin environment for local level elections set for May 14. When Thapa and two other RPP leaders were inducted into the government on March 9, the party had said it was joining the government to ensure elections.
Party spokesman Pathak said the RPP will start fresh street protests from Tuesday if the EC decision to change its statute is not corrected.
According to SP Pradhumna Karki, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Range, security forces resorted to minor force to avoid any untoward incident.
The RPP, which on Sunday registered a constituent amendment proposal at the Parliament Secretariat against the EC’s decision, has also decided to move the Supreme Court to challenge the poll body’s move of changing its party statute.
Published: 21-03-2017 08:28