Govt and social activist yet to begin formal talks

  • Ruling NCP leaders say there is no possibility of forming new team anytime soon
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jul 21, 2018-Formal talks between the representatives of Dr Govinda KC and the government have yet to begin after the agitating doctor was forcibly flown to Kathmandu from Jumla on Thursday. With both sides adamant on their stances, there was no formal dialogue on Friday even as they are said to be in touch.

Talks between Dr KC and the government have stalled since Wednesday after the agitating surgeon demanded withdrawal of the controversial National Medical Education Bill from Parliament while giving the task force formed to discuss contents of the bill more power. While Dr KC has demanded a dialogue panel with the power to address his demands, the government says that the Education Secretary-led team holds the required authority.

Sources at the Prime Minister’s Office said they have authorised Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel to deal Dr KC’s indefinite hunger strike, being staged currently at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

However, Minister Pokharel remained busy with the senate meeting of Kathmandu University on Friday after its Chairman Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was unable to attend it. “Dialogue with Dr KC may resume after creating the environment for talks,” said Pokharel’s personal secretary Puran KC.

Leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have said there is no possibility of forming another committee anytime soon. However, Dr KC’s team hopes that the government will form another task force by Sunday and address all the demands as “Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is under pressure from all sides”.

“We believe that a powerful talks team will be formed within Sunday,” said Dr Surendra Bhandary, a member of the team negotiating on Dr KC’s behalf.

Sources said that the talks team is in touch with leaders close to PM Oli through informal channels while NCP Co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is believed to be pressing the prime minister to address the fasting surgeon’s demands. Sunday’s “brutal” use of force at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences in Jumla while bringing Dr KC to Kathmandu has been widely criticised including by the National Human Rights Commission.

Pressed, the government has urged Dr KC to sit for talks by ending his three weeks long indefinite hunger strike but he has refused even medical treatment until all his demands are met. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali on Friday said Dr KC should end his hunger strike and sit for talks.

Published: 21-07-2018 07:26

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