29 April 2020 I A Nepalese cricketer visiting Melbourne has started “hunger strike” demanding concerete information from his government about what it is doing to “rescue” Nepalese citizens stranded down under.
The claim of hunger strike by cricket coach Anil Adhikari comes amid rising frustration among members of the Nepalese diaspora about their government’s lack of action in helping them get home. Thousands are believed to be stranded in Australia, mostly elderly parents visiting their children studying or living in Australia.
Mr Adhikari told southasia.com.au that he would continue to stage the 8-hour-long hunger strike daily until he receives correspondence from the Nepalese mission in Canberra “in embassy letterhead”.
He said he felt frustrated because the Nepalese government is “mocking” him and many others from his country by flying empty planes back to Kathmandu whereas they are dying to return to their families.
Mr Adhikari was referring to a Nepal Airlines plane that brought hundreds of Australians and residents early April. That plane returned to Kathmandu empty. Another flight is due to arrive in Australia next week, also believed to be returning home empty.
Nepalese community members in Australia are failing to understand the logic behind these ghost flights.
Speaking from Melbourne suburb of Glenroy, Mr Adhikari claimed he has notified the Nepalese ambassador to Australia about his decision to strike the hunger strike.
The cricketer warned he would stage more serious “phase” of his protest programme if the Oli government and the Nepalese embassy in Canberra fail to heed his demands.
He claimed he spok to Nepalese tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai and mayor of his hometown Renu Dahal about his predicament in Australia but to no avail.