Print Edition - 2018-09-20 | News
PM Oli dismisses dissent, calls for unity in speech
Civil rights activists call Oli’s statement ‘uncalled for’ and ‘unceremonious’ because the prime minister was speaking without any evidence
Sep 20, 2018-Expressing displeasure over protests and uprising across the nation, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday said that it is not acceptable to make the state a “guinea pig” in the name of civil liberties.
But civil rights activists have called Oli’s statement “uncalled for” and “unceremonious” because the prime minister was speaking without any evidence.
“Our struggle to secure democracy has successfully concluded,” Oli said from the Nepal Army pavilion at Tundikhel during a ceremony to mark the Constitution Day. “Civil rights are important, but in the name of securing civil rights, it is not acceptable to treat the state as a guinea pig and make it a playground for anti-social elements.”
Nepalis have been demonstrating against various government measures in recent months, including the government’s squeezing of public space, the adoption of conservative provisions in two recently amended civil rights-related laws, and attempts to muzzle the free press. A few political groups, including the Madhesi
Front, had also planned protests on Tuesday, saying the new document has failed to address the rights of Madhesis, Dalits and indigenous communities.
“It was a regretful statement from Oli which is unbecoming of a prime minister,” said Charan Prasai, a leading human rights activist. “These kinds of statement undermine and weaken civil rights and our quest for the democratic movement.”
Oli further said that the phase of political movements for rights has been over and no forceful agitation or inappropriate activities in the name of achieving rights or a political system was necessary for the country.
“Agitations of such nature should be history,” he added. Oli appeared to be particularly targeting leaders like Maoist leader Netra Bikram Chand and Madhesi rights activist CK Raut.
Stating that the country’s quest for political rights have come to an end, the prime minister assured that his administration would do everything in its power to maintain smooth relationship between Singha Durbar and the provinces.
During the speech, Oli invited all Nepalis to participate in the country’s future with a cooperative attitude.
“Prosperity and development shouldn’t just be the concerns of a prime minister or his government or a single party or a politician. It is our national resolve,” Oli said. “We have now moved from a phase of showing the dream of prosperity to a phase of giving the experience of change.”
Published: 20-09-2018 07:24