Govinda KC gives in

2 January 2017: Seven of Nepal’s most respected civil society leaders including a retired chief justice signed a declaration today pledging continued support for Govinda KC’s satyagraha if he ended his life-threatening fast unto death protest programme. Following the emotional appeal, Dr KC has ended his indefinite hunger strike around 7 pm local time in Kathmandu.

The orthopaedic surgeon was on his 24th day of hunger strike demanding immediate reforms to the South Asian nation’s medical education sector. The fasting was beginning to take a toll on his health, doctors warned repeatedly.

His life is important because the expertise and knowledge Dr KC possesses would be critical to ensure betterment of the country’s medical education sector, the signed document says.

According to senior journalist Tirtha Koirala, Dr KC was initially adamant indicating he wanted to carry on with his fast unto death programme. However, it appears there was a change of mind. 

Similarly, members of the Mathema Commission had also issued a press release requesting the orthopaedic surgeon to end his fast unto death.

Although the doctor’s protest activities were expected to be purely non-political, supporters of the country’s leftist parties claim Dr KC is working as a proxy to Nepali Congress, the main opposition part in the Nepalese parliament. They claim that the doctor’s protest programmes are designed to undermine the majority government led by Nepal Communist Party.

In the meantime, Dr KC’s health was deteriorating to a dangerous level, his fellow doctors overseeing his health had been warning.

To accommodate the demands of Dr KC, Nepal’s parliament will have to revisit the Medical Education Bill which was passed by the upper house of the parliament last Thursday.

The latest was Dr KC’s 16th hunger strike and as such, an increasing number of people were beginning to question his intention. They say, of all people, Govinda KC should be the one to appreciate the fact that a strike in the medical sector would leave lives at peril. 

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