By Feenzu Sherpa
On Sunday, caretakers of patients admitted at the Bir Hospital staged a protest demanding resumption of treatment services.
Why are they protesting?
Because Nepal Medical Association decided to shut health services except emergency services across the country.
Why is NMA protesting?
Because, on Friday, a doctor standing outside the National Trauma Centre was baton-charged by an on-duty police officer.
And why was the doctor beaten?
Because the doctor was allegedly obstructing the President’s VVIP convoy.
Connecting the dots, the VVIP protocol during President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s appointment to address a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly has stopped all healthcare services in the nation today, except emergency services.
An orthopedic surgeon at the National Trauma Centre, Janith Singh, was injured on Friday while heading home after police used force to clear the road for the President’s convoy. Singh sustained head injuries from the incident and is currently undergoing treatment.
Doctors and human rights activists protested in Maitighar on Saturday demanding action against the assault and a fair investigation into the case.
As a result, police constable Sambhujang Gurung, who assaulted Dr Singh, was suspended on Saturday. Further efforts are being made to resolve the problem through a meeting between the representatives of the agitating doctors and the government officials.
However, is that a permanent solution? When will such atrocities towards the regular people of the nation just for the convenient travel of our VIPs and VVIPs stop? After all, the jobs of the constable and other police personnel are at stake if even a slight inconvenience occurrs during the President’s journey.
Whether it be due to foreign officials’ visits or VVIP movement, valley citizens are often affected due to poor management of such convoys. Vehicular and pedestrian movement is affected, and people have to struggle, often for hours to get to their destination.
“The government should review the protocols on the security of VVIPs, making sure such convoys doesn’t trouble the public,” lawmaker Gagan Thapa wrote on social media after the incident.
With an increasing number of vehicles in the city and citizens facing lengthy traffic obstruction even during normal times, urban planners also stress better planning during VVIP movement to ensure that the public movement is not greatly affected.
In the end, the government needs to re-evaluate – are they here to serve us or to exercise their authoritative rule upon us?