Sunday, January 22, 2006

Media Savvy Protesters and Futile Search

Two student leaders giving voluntary arrest at Khichapokhari, shopping centre of Kathmandu
Photo credit: Shruti Shreshtha

Reporter's Notebook

As I couldn't make it to the Basantapur protest yesterday, today I went to Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, reportedly the site of protest. But, there were only a handful students, a bonfire of a tree was lying as a relic of the protest. As the Kantipur van drove towards Kirtipur Hostel, a taxi was seen in its entrance. Our photojournalist Chandra Shekhar Karki (CSK) recognized and shouted to the student leaders; one of the injured, named Jagat Jung was ushered out and displayed to Kantipur TV and to CSK. Earlier, we were discussing how demonstrators have become media savvy. There were instances when the arrival of TV crew or lens man triggers the artificial sloganeering and protest. Scribes shared how leaders during the protests were deserted by supporters rendering them alone.

As we retuned from Kirtipur, Naya Bazaar, we saw few policemen, scattered bricks and a dozen students inside the Hostel. Later at Basantapur, many lens men were roaming in search of the protesters but in vain. One lens man told us that torch light rally (ranke julus ) is scheduled from New Baneshor. The city was in full swing; it looked as though the daylong curfew imposed a couple of days back were untrue. At Baneshor, there wasn't any such agitation. As we entered Kantipur Complex, we concluded that it was another futile mission and unless and until the people of all walks of life throng into the demos, it won't yield much result. The torch light rally was organized at Apex college, New baneshor today evening at 5 pm. A student activist told me that Nepal Student Union organized a mass meet at Ghattekulo Chowk at around 4:30 pm which was attended by considerable mass.

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