The people of Nepal have once again shown their determination to stand up for their rights. In a recent turn of events, they are protesting against the unfairness of the government to the Hindu community, similar to likes of the Peoples’ Movement of 2006. A day after the Nepal government withdrew the bill to amend the Guthi Act after many protests, thousands of Nepalese men and women took to the streets demanding scrapping of the bill altogether.
The Guthi bill sought to amend to amend the Guthi Act with the intention of nationalizing both, public and private Guthis or trusts in order to regulate all religious sites under a powerful commission. The bill was tabled by KP Sharma Oli led Communist government. The ethnic Newar community in Nepal felt that this move would jeopardize Sanatan Hindu tradition and thus staged protests demanding the scrapping of the bill.
Fearing the protests, the Nepal government withdrew the bill from the parliament. However, the agitators aren’t satisfied by the government’s move to temporarily withdraw the bill for further discussion and hence are continuing to protest, demanding that the bill be scrapped. Thousands participated in the rally near the Prime Minister’s office in Kathmandu, stating that the protest would go on until the bill is completely scrapped.
Dwarika Man Tandukar, president of Newa Dyoya Dabu stated, “We want the Bill brought with ill-intention to destroy our centuries old tradition and culture to be scrapped.”
Rajman Japali, chairman of Jyapu Mahaguthi stated, “Our movement will continue till the Guthi Bill is totally scrapped.”
Moreover, the protestors also demanded the resignations of a number of ministers in the government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of the Nepal Communist Party. One of those whose resignations are demanded is Nepal’s Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa as he is being purported to have mistreated the protestors by using security forces. Along with him, resignation of Communication Minister Gokul Baskota is also being demanded as he has allegedly termed the Guthi trustees as “feudal”. Minister for Land Management and Cooperatives Padma Kumari Aryal is also on the ‘demand for resignation list’ as she was the one who presented the bill in Parliament.
According to the observers, the mass protest of tens of thousands of people is completely unprecedented, only seen once before during the People’s Movement of 2006 that abolished monarchy and established a republic state. More than 13 years later, now again the Nepalese people, especially the Hindus, are threatened by the ruling institution in the country.
The social organization of Guthi goes centuries back and has a very rich history. The first practice was recorded on the pillars erected at Changu Narayan temple, which is the oldest dated inscription in Nepal. The Newar community has traditionally been responsible for maintaining temples and traditional public space, as well as organising festive events and parades.
Being so vital in the history of the Himalayan country, the Newar community supported by other Nepalese citizens is protecting the cultural history of Nepal by protesting against the unethical interference of the ruling communist government. The government by its very nature of being communist has exhibited grave disregard for the religious sentiments of the people of the former Hindu Kingdom and its traditions maintained by the worshippers and the believers. The citizens of Nepal are doing well to abide by and uphold the principles of democracy in the country while protecting their religious traditions.