Kathmandu [Nepal]: Thousands of protestors took to streets here on Wednesday demanding the government to scrap the controversial “Guthi Bill” which, they said, is against the cultural heritage of the Himalayan nation.
Guthis, a form of institutional landownership, are socio-economic institutions that fulfill religious public services and social roles from incomes of cultivated or leased land as assets. This sort of institution has been in practice in Nepal for centuries which involve members from a common lineage or several.
On April 30, the Nepali government tabled the controversial bill through the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation in the Upper House which proposes consolidation of all acts and amendments related to ‘Guthis’.
“The government has grown more pragmatic for getting a two-thirds majority and is marching towards the state of solitude. It is neither listening to the opposition nor the public and is making decisions on own whims,” Maya Dangal, one of the protesters told ANI.
“The recently tabled Guthi Bill, which has run into controversy is also claimed to be good by the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli yesterday only so we had to come down onto the streets,” Dangal added.
The residents of Kathmandu Valley, especially the Newars, who have serious dissatisfaction over the bill, have been protesting since June 9 after the festival of Rato Machhendra Nath Jatra concluded.
They claim that the bill will separate them from their rights of continuing the old cultures and threaten the heritage of one of the oldest civilizations in the world.
Another protester, Deepak Gyawali, also told ANI: “I am a Brahmin by caste but I grew up in Kathmandu in the Newari community. I celebrate the feasts and festivals along with the Newari brothers and sisters, and so I am here to support them. Our culture, religion, tradition is to be cared for. It should be understood by the people involved in the decision-making process.”
The Newar community has demanded the government to scrap the bill.
The Ministry for Land Management, Cooperatives, and Poverty Alleviation withdrew the bill on Tuesday but failed to win the trust of the protestors who demanded the bill to be scrapped.
The protestors also chanted slogans against the government of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and also demanded the resignation of Home Minister and the Minister for Communication and Information Technology, among others.