Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chaos in Kathmandu: for how long?

As I was driving office today morning, I was stopped at Koteshwar. A group of protesters forced the vehicles to return. I followed their decree, for in today's Nepal you never know where and when riot begins and the road becomes the first casualty.

I had an appointment with Mr. Gopal Bagale, Counsellor of Indian Embassy at 11:30 am. After saying a quick hi to my colleagues at my office, I rushed to the appointment. Colleague Kanchan Adhikari asked for a pillion ride to which I agreed. We were stopped at Shantinagar gate. As I flashed my ID in front of seemingly furious protesters, one told me to be serious while reporting the news. "hamro samachar lekhda bichar garne," he warned me. I nodded and proceeded.

This scene was re-created in a number of intersections of the city where a bunch of teenagers took control of the street. At Babarmahal, I took the right turn and headed towards Singh Darbar, the headquarters of Nepal government. There, another traffic jam greeted me. Finally, we were able to drive through the heavy traffic and the road heading towards Putalisadak seemed free of turbulence.

Lately, after the restoration of democracy in April last year specifically, we Nepalis are doomed to tolerate this sort of blockades. People vent their anger in the street even for a trifle cause. Apparently, today morning they were protesting against the killing of a lecturer at Nepal Commerce Campus by an unidentified group. These were the students and teachers who obstructed traffic especially at Matighar-Koteshwor route, and warned of an indefinite strike. A couple of days back, there was another protest by taxi drivers in Sinamangal area. They were furious with the mistreatment of drivers by the police in the cases of accidents. The list is long, but isn't it high time we got rid of such onerous indulgences?

Read this beautiful article by Ameet Dhakal in The Kathmadnu Post

7 comments:

Salik said...

Faced the same difficulty Deepakji.

However, I didn't mind walking to the office so much than I did the burning of tyres on the road.

Few old men were cleaning/sweeping the ashes that was really harmful to human health without any mask or globes!

These people should at least give a second thought before doing sth like this in protest. Yes- someone's life is important, but what about the lives of living men that is worse than the dead?

But may be this is what we call, we fought for, and achieved- New Nepal.

Salik said...

Faced the same difficulty Deepakji.

However, I didn't mind walking to the office so much than I did the burning of tyres on the road.

Few old men were cleaning/sweeping the ashes that was really harmful to human health without any mask or gloves!

These people should at least give a second thought before doing sth like this in protest. Yes- someone's life is important, but what about the lives of living men that is worse than the dead?

But may be this is what we call, we fought for, and achieved- New Nepal.

Yes- the write up by Ameetji is also good. I liked it very much.

Prajwol said...

I was trying to explain one of my colleague why there is frequent Bandh's in Nepal. I told her that Government normally doesn't pay attention unless something like that are done (mind you I'm against that). And she made a valid point, "may be you guy's don't have enough patience".

paribartan said...

Dear Deepak Jee,

Sorry to know about your travails. The mob culture that is raising its ugly head is denifinitely not a good sign for fragile lokatantra. Many people who generally join such protests, and blockades perhaps know that what they are doing can make others inconvenient. And like terrorists, they are ever ready to cause bigger discomfort and mayhem. Why?

This in my opinion, relates with their penchant to grab attention and to plead their cases strongly. Without shedding emotions publicly and vociferously, neither government nor law enforcing agancies ever make any move. Because of ineffciency in our system, such routines protests are orchestrated and people are put at jeopardy.

What should concerned authorities do?

Government agencies, either home ministry or Valley security agency, must improve PR department. They must hire professionals as PR officers who can visit the incident sites immidiately and pacify/placate angry crowd and relatives. People are coming to streets for attention and if they go to people who are demanding attention, people may not come to streets.

Police officers, up from Sub-inspectors, must be given some lesson in public management. Many police-officiers citing lack of instructions either underperform or perform waywardly. They should be taught in policing manuals that they must use discretion without any harm to anybody and with interest of tackling/diffusing tense situation.


Another important role pertains to journalists. Journalists like you must not forget to report simple threats also. People who are protesting certain killings may have some other reasons to take you to the task. If you keep on reporting these threats and make an analysis then you may be able to find some reasons behind these threats.

Incase of such threats, it would be very good, if journalists could capture some snaps of rowdy elements. If same person is found somewhere else also issuing threats to the journalists, you can now venture on some investigation and reveal the truth.

So, in my opinion, chaos in Kathmandu is related more with non-performance, laxity and lack of anticipation on the part of security agencies, home ministry and other concerned departments. Their not having contingency plan, their preoccupations with political programs only and their constant bickerings amongst themselves have eroded our responsive state mechanism and people have started taking laws in their own hands. Journalists need to report cautionary informations as soon as possible.

Blogger Deepak said...

Thanks a lot for your mind boggling comments, Salik,prajwol and pariwartan. Especially pariwartan, u seem, like ur name, all set to change the world, if not in deeds, definitely in words. Thanks also for ur enlightening comments in other posts. Keep it up!

PS: I could not open ur blog, why?

paribartan said...

Dear Deepak Jee,
Thanks! Have you tried www.changeinnepal.blogspot.com?
I have a reason to move here. I will tell you when we meet later in Kathmandu.

Paribartan

Kumar said...

Yah these sorts of activities now have become a routine act.Actually one should be surprised if he/she is not interrupted by mobs in the street.I do conform with you.