Personal tools
You are here: Home News Analysis and Views What Political Movements Are In Nepal
Log in

Forgot your password?

What Political Movements Are In Nepal

Issue 02, January 11, 2009

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Movements have been either a fashion or the easiest thing to do in Nepal; so, every political party, students’ unions, labor organizations, transport organizations even the business community threaten to launch a movement at the slightest opportunity of cashing in on such a movement. Anybody’s movement has been to stop the traffic and shut down the business of other people. If you defy the call of such a movement you risk at getting your vehicle burned down, nobody would protect you and pay you the compensation for the loss of your vehicle or property not to mention the business you lose.

So, if somebody ran over your pet you could stand on the road and block the traffic demanding the compensation for the loss of the life of your pet. Then, the concerned local administration chief would come to you and talk to you for negotiating with you for the compensation to be paid. In case of death of a human in a traffic accident you might ask the government for declaring the deceased a martyr of the country, and ask for one million rupees for the compensation of the loss of a human life. So, it is not a surprise that Nepal has created thousands of martyrs thanks to the political parties sending their cadres to kill the cadres of other political parties. The government had paid tens of millions of rupees in compensation for the loss of lives in traffic or due to the killing by the political rivals.

Every political party has been set to launch a movement for any reason; even the political parties in the coalition government are ready to launch a movement. For example, on Saturday, January 03, 2009, a senior Maoist leader CP Gajurel said that his party was set to launch yet another powerful movement at the Constituent Assembly, at the government and on the street to institutionalize republic in the country following the aspiration of the Nepalese people. [1]

On Saturday, January 03, 2009, Nepali Congress leader Shobhakar Parajuli said that his party had taken the 15-point demands of the Association of Victims of Maoist Atrocities Nepal (ASMAN) very seriously. Addressing a meeting of ASMAN members in Kathmandu Mr. Parajuli said that the Nepali Congress (NC) would take initiative in meeting the association's demands as soon as possible. "We have been obstructing the functioning of the Constituent Assembly (CA) demanding that the seized properties of the people, including the Maoist victims, be returned, and the NC will not allow the CA functioning unless such properties are returned to the owners," he said. “As a part of their protest movement, the ASMAN has already submitted its memorandum to the party and parliamentary party offices of all the political parties,” ASMAN's General Secretary Gopal Bahadur Shah said "Despite our serious attempts, no party has taken our concerns seriously." [2].

Thus, the Nepali Congress has been launching its movement of obstructing the CA session but also is taking up the movement of the ASMAN, too hindering the most important task of crafting a new constitution.

On Sunday January 04, 2009, the National Maoist Victims Struggle Committee (NMVSC) held a sit-in rally in front of the Kantipur publications office at Subhidanagar in Kathmandu to draw the attention of the media House to their intensified movement for putting pressure on the government to meet their demands. The NMVSC submitted a memorandum to the editor of Kantipur TV, urging the media House to bring their issues to limelight. Appreciating the support of the media House for various people’s movements in the past, the Maoist victims called on the reporters to continue their support in the coming days. During the rally in front of the Kantipur publications, the NMVSC activists chanted anti-government slogans and demanded the government to return their properties grabbed during the 10-year-long armed conflict and to ensure their safe return to their properties. Spokesperson for NMVSC Gopal Shah informed that they would launch unarmed movement against those who did not express solidarity with their movement bringing those persons and organizations to limelight and picketing at their houses and offices. [3]

On Saturday, January 03, 2008, in a press statement, the Nepali Congress strongly condemned the appointment of new priests to the vacant positions at the Pashupati shrine saying it was done defying the rules and regulations and disregarding the Supreme Court's stay order. The Nepali Congress in its statement said, "Despite the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and a clear provision that the State will not interfere in any religion or cultural tradition, the government has intervened in the autonomy of religious places; NC seriously objects to, and condemns, the incident as a direct attack on religious freedom." [4]

The Nepali Congress has taken up this movement, too; even though most of the Nepalis having nationalistic feelings have welcomed the appointment of Nepalese priests at the Pashupati shrine. The State-run Nepal Radio in its morning news stated that the cash offerings made to Lord Pashupati amounted to one hundred thousand rupees within a few days. It makes sense why the Nepali Congress leaders have been staging a movement against the appointment of Nepalese priests in the vacant positions left by the South Indian priests.

On Sunday, January 04, 2009, the caretakers of the Pashupati temple called 'Bhandaris', responsible for providing prayer materials and taking care of the temple assets for centuries said that they would launch a movement called "save the temple from Maoist intrusion". They set up a 32-member movement committee refusing to sit for talks with the government unless the government allowed the Indian priests to resume their duties at the temple and ensured the protection of the assets in the main storehouse of which the doors were broken. The South Indian head priest had tendered his resignation on September 25, 2008, and the Prime Minister as the patron of the Pashupati Area Development Trust accepted the resignation on December 28, 2008 after the head priest refused to take back his resignation. The caretakers of the Pashupati shrine charged the Maoists of forcing the priests to resign. [5]

It is clear that the Nepalese caretakers of the Pashupati temple have developed an age-old bond with the South Indian priests as the temple has been the source of lucrative incomes generated by the cash offerings made by the devotees. The priests have never disclosed the cash amount offered to the Pashupati. So, it makes sense why the caretakers are so much interested in launching a movement with the support of the Nepali Congress leaders.

On January 05, 2009, quoting IANS the website reported from Udupi, India that Chief Priest Mahabaleshwara Bairy at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, confirmed that three priests including him had quit their jobs there. Speaking to “The Hindu” over telephone from Kathmandu on Saturday, January 03, Mr. Bairy said that he resigned from the job on September 25, 2008, as he was "suffering from acute backache" and the doctor had advised him to take it easy. His resignation was accepted on December 28. Mr. Bairy served the temple for 16 years. He said, "I hail from Belve village in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district. My parents are getting old; I have to look after them." Mr. Bairy along with two other priests from coastal Karnataka: one is Krishna Bhat from Gokarna in Uttara Kannada district and another is K.P. Ramachandra Bhat from Hebri village in Udupi district resigned from the priests but it could not be confirmed if both had resigned. "They too are getting old. Mr. Krishna Bhat has served here for 15 years, while the priest has put in nearly three decades," he told “The Hindu”. Later, Mr. Krishna Bhat confirmed that he had also resigned stating he was diabetic. Mr. Bairy said that priests from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra had been serving the temple for the last 250 years. "We have no records to say exactly when priests started coming from India to Kathmandu. The kings (of Nepal) had given full powers to the chief priest, who used to recruit priests from India." Mr. Bairy said: "The local priests have their own tradition; we have our own. There is bound to be some differences. We were working as a team here. It is my opinion that we should leave when people still desire our presence and have a good opinion about us." [6]

Nepali Congress lawmakers have supported the ongoing protests against the appointment of new priests at the Pashupati temple. NC lawmakers including senior party stalwarts such as Ram Chandra Poudel, Gopalman Shrestha and Dr Ram Saran Mahat marched from the CA building at Naya Baneshwor to the Pashupati area in a show of solidarity with the protestors against the government decision on appointing new priests. They told the protesting caretakers of the temple to continue their movement until the government corrects its decision. The caretakers have been staging protest rallies at Gaushala and Purano Baneshwor areas shutting down the vehicular traffic. [7]

On Tuesday, January 06, 2009, leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lal Krishna Advani made a statement in the Indian Parliament stating he was deeply distressed by the ongoing controversy over the appointment of Nepali priests at the Pashupati Temple. Advani's statement came just a day after Samajbadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh in Kathmandu while in the Nepal-visit at the invitation of the President of Nepal regretted the politicization of a time-honored tradition by the CPN-Maoist sacking the South Indian priests at Pashupati. According to the statement, Advani spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Tuesday morning and expressed concern over it. During the conversation, “Prime Minister Dahal assured Advani of making an announcement in the parliament soon concerning the restoration of the status quo ante,” the statement quoted Advani as saying. [8]

On Tuesday, January 06, 2009, speaking at a press meet held in Dang district, Minister for Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that Nepali priests were appointed at the Pashupati temple to make the cash offerings called ‘Bheti’ more transparent and use the money for social welfare. Minister Mahara charged some status quoits of making the appointment of Nepali priests at the Pashupati Temple a great issue. [9]

On Wednesday, January 07, 2009, addressing the Legislature-House, and bowing down to the intense pressure put on him by the national and international communities, Prime Minister Prachanda said that he revoked the decision made on the appointment of two new Nepali priests at the Pashupati temple and asked the South Indian priest to hold regular offerings to Lord Pashupati. As the patron of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the Prime Minister also accepted the resignations tendered by the South Indian priests. [10]

An inclusive great fire-worship called Mahayagya was started on the premises of Shiva Panchayan Temple at Chandragadhi-3 in Jhapa, Eastern Nepal on January 04, 2009 for a religious ceremony. Inclusive in the sense that priests other than so-called high caste Hindu priests were performing the worship. Ten priests from different creeds and castes including the Dalit caste were presiding over the Mahayagya. The chief priest read out the Shiva Purana: Holy Scripture in Nepali, and other priests translate the meanings of the Holy Scripture in their languages for the benefit of the respective audiences. "The ritual was performed to encourage religious tolerance and end the caste-based discrimination," said Durga Prasad Bhattarai, the Mahayagya-Organizing Committee Chairman. Priest Arjun Sashankar of the Dalit community, Priest Rupa Ganguli of the Rajbanshi community, Priest Atmananda Lingden of the Kirant community and Lama Sonam of the Buddhist community performed the religious offerings to the fire God at the Mahahyagya. Organizers of Mahayagya said that they were making efforts on bringing Muslim and Christian priests on board the Mahayagya. The Mahayagya ends on Jan. 9. Lama Sonam said that he preached Buddhabani (teachings of Buddha) instead of Purana. "I think this yagya is one of the most important religious events," he said. "In the past, only Brahmin and Chhetri people used to flock to religious ceremonies. This time, however, hundreds of people from different castes and creeds are pouring in every day," said Ganguli, a female priest. The devotees are excited very much listening to hymns of diverse communities and seeing members of different communities dance. "This Mahayagya will motivate Constituent Assembly members to draft an inclusive constitution," Committee Chairman Bhattarai said. The inclusive Mahayagya is the first of its kind in the country according to the Mahayagya-organizing Committee members. [11]

This is another positive religious movement to bring all the people of different faiths under a single umbrella and make religious harmony real in Nepal.

Speaking at an interaction program held by Reporters Club in Butwal, Head of the most powerful Organization Department of CPN-Maoist Mohan Baidya said, "the captured houses and properties of feudalists will not be returned; his party will not compromise on this matter as the party had chiefly waged the people's war to end feudalism.” While
Prime Minister and Chairman of CPN-Maoist Prachanda assured the Nepali Congress of returning the properties seized by the Maoists during the insurgency within the next 90 days. Baidya also said, “properties belonging to feudalists will be distributed among the poor formulating appropriate laws. He said that his party would hold the people above everything else including the government, and in order to ensure the rights of the people the party would even walk out of the government and go to the people any time. [12]

On Friday, January 02, 2009, speaking at a press conference held in Birgunj of Parsa district, CPN-Maoist hard-liner Matrika Prasad Yadav said that the properties grabbed by the Maoists were previously under the control of the royalists and so would not be returned to them rather automatically come under the ownership of commoners. "In the past, the royalists took over the people's land by forging royal-friendly laws and there is no way such lands can now be returned to the people legally. However, those lands have now gone back to the commoners," he said, "Forcible occupation of such land holdings is the only way the people will receive their land." Yadav's remarks have come just a day after the Maoist Prime Minister announced that all Maoist-seized properties would be returned to the former owners within three months. Former Minister for Forests and Land Reforms Matrika Prasad Yadav also challenged the government’s intention of forbidding the highway blockades saying, "If the government continues to curtail people's rights, then the day will come when the people will once again pick up arms to regain their rights." [13]

On Saturday, January 03, 2009, speaking at the Reporter's Club in Kathmandu, Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel warned of a protest movement if the government would remove Chief of Army Staffs (COAS) Rukmangad Katuwal appointed by the NC-led coalition government. Vice-president Poudel also protested any change in the leadership of the army integration special committee, replacing Home Minister Bamdev Gautam by Prime Minister Prachanda. He said leadership change in the panel could delay the integration process. [14]

On Sunday, January 04, 2009, students of the Faculty of Education, Tribhuvan University, padlocked the Kathmandu District Education Office and teachers' personal record office at Tahachal as a protest movement. In a press statement, the student leaders said that their demands for an open competition for recruiting schoolteachers and the provision for mandatory teaching licenses for teachers were ignored. Other demands of the students included developing Faculty of Education to an academy for excellence, transforming Education Service Commission into a constitutional body, giving priority to graduates in education in the teaching profession, and a seat for them in the task force formed by the Ministry of Education on Friday, January 02, 2009. Different units of All Nepal National Free Students’ Union, All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union-Revolutionary and Free Students’ Union at Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tahachal supported the movement. [15]

On January 05, 2009, Tribhuvan University (TU) Victim Struggle Committee called traffic shutdown at Balkhu intersection on the Ring Road from 8 AM to 12 Noon affecting the traffic on the Ring Road. Coordinator of TU Victim Struggle Committee Dev Chandra Maharjan said that the struggle committee and the natives of Kirtipur declared a protest movement to put pressure on the government to meet their demands. He also said that they would prohibit Vice-chancellor, Registrar and Rector of TU from entering their offices. He said that the government had acquired the land from locals to build buildings for TU in 1956 but had not provided them with the full compensation for the land the government had taken from them. The government had acquired 6,500 ropanis (one ropani = 5,625 sq ft=0.0523 ha) of land from most of the households in Kirtipur for the TU. The locals have been demanding compensation from the government following the agreement the government had reached with the locals in 1956. [16]

On January 05, 2009, the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly acting as the Speaker of the legislature-House called off the business after the six small parties threatened to disrupt the House session unless the government took out the Scholarship (third amendment) Bill of 2008 submitted to the House for amendment. Education Minister Renu Kumari Yadav had submitted the Bill following the approval of the cabinet to pass it before the House would go to recess after the summer session. Fringe parties particularly the Dalit Janjati Party led by Bishwonath Paswan objected the decreasing of the percentage of scholarships allocated to the dalit students. The Bill has proposed to provide the dalit students with nine per cent scholarship against the previously allocated 15 percent of the government scholarships allocated to the dalit students. Leader Paswan demanded the scholarships be made available to the dalit students in proportion to the population of dalits. On Sunday, January 04, 2009, Prime Minister Prachanda met with the leaders of the protesting political parties such as Dalit Janjati Party, Chure Bhabar Ekta Party Nepal, Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi), Federal Democratic National Front, Nepali Janta Dal and two independent CA members at his Baluwatar official residence in Kathmandu. The Prime Minister asked them to come up with a proposal for an amendment to the Bill if they deemed it necessary. Leader of Chure Bhabar Ekta Party Nepal Keshav Mainali said that the people of hill origin living in Terai needed the reservation for the government scholarships as well, as they were in minority in the region. [17]

On Tuesday, January 06, 2009, laborers working at the jute mills in Biratnagar have continued to block Nepal-India border at Jogbani for the third consecutive day. They have been staging protest rallies against the shutdown of jute mills since the past 10 days and demanding the minimum wage of Rs 190 per day set by the government and an end to power-cuts along the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor. According to media reports, the eight privately owned mills have been losing over Rs 10.7 million a day due to the laborers going on strike. Various rounds of talks among political parties, trade unions, civil society members and industrialists have not resolved the problem, yet. Jute mills owners said that the government’ decision setting the workers' minimum wage was frivolous and insensitive to the conditions of the mills at the time of heavy power-cuts. [18]

On January 07, 2009, landless people obstructed vehicular traffic at Pulchowk and Aaptari in Narayangadh, Chitwan demanding the inclusion of their representatives on the Land Council. The irate landless people burnt tires and halted the vehicular traffic in the areas for the second consecutive day affecting the transportation along the East-West Highway despite the government declaring the area as the "transport-shutdown-free area". [19]

On January 07, 2009, Freed Kamaiyas (bounded laborers) have called an indefinite transport shutdown in Bardiya district stating the government did not enforce the agreement reached with them in the past. Traffic has been halted along the East-West highway and the Gulariya-Nepalgunj road section since early morning. They suspended the previous shutdown after the political parties assured of putting pressure on the government for enforcing the agreement within four days. The government had agreed to enforce the 11-point demand and include their representatives on the Freed Kamaiya Rehabilitation Council for proper management of the rehabilitation of the freed Kamaiyas in the past. Their other demands include free education, healthcare services, and identity cards among others. [20]

On Tuesday, January 06, 2009, protesting against the arrest of its cadres, the Nepal Students' Union (NSU) shut down academic institutions in Dhanusha district. Two weeks ago, the police had arrested NSU cadres: Binaya Thakur and Alok Jha on charge of possessing a robbed motorcycle. The two detained NSU cadres are under the custody of Siraha police. Meanwhile, the NSU has warned of continuing the strike if their cadres are not released. NSU is affiliated to the Nepali Congress party. [21]

On January 07, 2009, hotel and restaurant workers went on strike for an indefinite period in Pokhara demanding the minimum wage of Rs. 4,600 set by the government. Hotels and restaurants at the Lakeside area in Pokhara were closed leaving hundreds of tourists high and dry. Tourists have been going around in search of bakeries and looking for something to eat. “Banda never solves problems. The demands of the protestors can be solved through peacefully,” said Bachchu Tiwari, Chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council. He, however, said that the minimum wage could not be enforced immediately as hotels and restaurants were unable to run their businesses well due to the prevailing power-cuts. Chairman of All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Union, Rajendra Timilsina said that the workers spontaneously halted their work, as the entrepreneurs refused to enforce the minimum wage announced by the government. [22]

None of the political parties have been cooperating each other on crafting a new constitution rather inciting their sister organizations to take the advantage of the interim period for their benefits. The labor organizations affiliated to the CPN-Maoist and CPN-UML have been primarily responsible for the labor unrest in the industrial and business sectors. Similarly, sister organizations affiliated to the Nepali Congress take even the slightest opportunity of exaggerating any issues that they think they could use for opposing the Maoist-led six-party coalition government. If they continue such unruly activities soon the doomsday of Nepal would surely come to end the life of Nepal as a State.


[1] Jan 4 09, “Maoists are all set to unleash another "massive" struggle, says Gajurel”

[2], January 04, 2009, “NC to Take Up Maoist Victims' Demands”

[3], January 04, 2009, “Maoist victims stage sit-in at Kantipur Publications”

[4], January 04, 2009, “NC Condemns Govt Move on Pashupati

[5], Post Report, January 04, 2009, “No foul play in Pashupati: PM”


[7] Jan 06 09, NC lawmakers back protests against Pashupatinath appointments

[8], January 07, 2009, Kantipur Report “Advani distressed at Pashupati row”

[9], Kantipur Report, “Nepali priests for 'Bheti' issue: Minister Mahara”

[10], Kantipur Report, January 07, 2009, “PM rescinds new priest appointments, asks old priests to carry on with Pashupati rituals”

[11], January 04, 2009, “Inclusive yagya to boost communal harmony”

[12] ag Jan 02 08, “Baidya says captured properties of 'feudalists' won't be returned”

[13], January 03, 2009, “Seized land won’t be returned: Matrika”

[14] ia Jan 03 09, “Change of army chief won't be acceptable to NC, says Poudel”

[15], January 05, 2009, “Students Padlock DEO, Teachers' Record Office”

[16], January 05, 2009, “Balkhu Chakka Jam Affects Traffic on Ring Road”

[17], January 05, 2009, “House Put Off Without Any Business”

[18] Jan 7 09, “Jute mill workers continue to block Jogbani border”

[19], January 07, 2009, Kantipur Report “Landless obstruct transportation in Narayangadh”

[20], January 07, 2009, Kantipur Report “Indefinite transport strike in Bardiya”

[21], January 06, 2009, Kantipur Report, “Academic institutions closed in Dhanusha”

[22], Kantipur Report, January 08, 2009, ” Pokhara hotels stay shut”

Document Actions