Public retaliates traffic obstruction by protestors
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA
KATHMANDU, April 10: Street protestors usually think they are free to do whatever they wish and the public will take it lying down, whatever hassles they have to face as a consequence.
But on Friday, a public that has been bearing the burnt of traffic obstructions in Kathmandu streets every other day became united and jointly retaliated against the protestors.
The irate public not only chased after members of the All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R), who were obstructing traffic in front of Thapathali Engineering Campus, but also forced the authorities to apprehend protestors involved in vandalizing their bikes and make them pay for the damage.
The public wrath came after a group of ANNISU-R students burnt a newly-bought CBZ Extreme motorcycle belonging to one Sudeep Gurung, alleging that he along with others attempted to defy their road obstruction when their campus unit President Yuvraj Dahal was addressing a corner meeting on the road just outside campus. Two cycles were also set ablaze on the occasion.
The ruling Maoist-affiliated ANNISU-R students staged a one-hour chakkajam and demonstration in front of all public campuses in Kathmandu starting at 8 a.m. to protest a decision by Tribhuvan University to hike examination fees by almost 300 percent.
The agitated public then engaged in verbal altercations with the protesting ANNISU-R students numbering about 30 before finally chasing them away from the road and from the campus itself. The public beat up over a dozen students, some of them innocent ones, in course of the clash with the ANNISU-R inside the campus.
Their anger still unspent, the public then smashed dozen of window panes, vandalized three laboratories â€“ physics, chemistry and mechanical â€“ and also demolished the outer wall of the campus.
The irate public then set ablaze some furniture, two motorcycles and three bicycles parked inside campus premises before the campus management could assure them of initiatives to compensate for the damaged motorcycle.
The protest by the public left traffic movement along the Maitighar-Thapathali section affected till late afternoon.
Police said they have arrested two students in connection with the burning of Gurungâ€™s motorcycle.
Inspector Prajjwol Maharjan, chief of Metropolitan Police Sector Office, Singha Durbar, said they have initiated legal action against the arrested students.
Bhola Siwakoti, Chief District Officer of Kathmandu, said he has asked the campus administration, the Dean of the Institute of Engineering (IOE) and the TU Registrar to make necessary arrangements for compensating the victims as they were not involved in the protest. â€œWe will make those involved in vandalizing property pay for the damage if they are identified,â€ he said, adding: â€œElse, the campus or the state needs to compensate the victims to ensure there is rule of law in the country.â€
The campus administration has shut down the college until further notice.