Nepal Democracy Protest: Live From Shankar Dev Campus

Many colleges in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu remained tense today. Students were protesting the Nagarkot Massacre. Avipsha, a UWB blogger and student of Shankar Dev College, one of the country’s most politically sensitive campuses, was inside the class room when riots erupted out side the building. Here she shares the first hand experience of the brick-rain with us. (Photos in this blog won’t be displayed)

Agitating students of Shankar Dev Campus burnt this log earlier in the morning as part of the main protest program. All pics by Wagle.

Letter from Shankar Dev Campus.
By Avipsha

I just came back drowning my face in a drum that contained very filthy water. I had no choice. Bang goes my moisturizer and gaajal. I just wiped out the mist from my specs but eyes are still itching and burning like the hell. Ditto with nose. And the heat of sunrays is still making me feel like some midsummer days. Bully on me! What this pain costs comparing to that of those students. I am so excited that I am not being able to think from which corner should I have to start the story.

Ok listen! I was just updating myself on what is going around the world, one of my friend, who is a kind of spark-plug, urged me to go outside and witness what’s going on around my college (Shankar Dev). I knew what was happening, that had gone cliched, such events of rainbricks are not new for us. So who cares, that’s the way ball bounces. But his point tempted me, I gazed into myself, it was indeed a fool of me to coil inside the library and surf the Internet while other friends were fighting for some good reason in a not-bad way. I thought if I set out and witness that will be a nice spice to serve, that will be tangy especially because, I am a student, I mean, I belong to this group.

Police fired more than 30 shells of tear gas in Shankar Dev Campus alone. This photo was taken when students from the chhat of the building threw back a shell back to police on the road. Police had fired a shell on the chhat targeting students. Before the gas spread from the shell, a student caught that and threw back to police. Police ran away and that changed the equation. Students were in attacking mood and police were in defensive situation. Earlier in the day, police fired a tear gas shell targeting students and the shell hit a student on his forehead. Manish Banjade was seriously injured (see pic by Shaligram Tiwari). I saw him being treated in the Emergency Ward of Kathmandu Model hospital. A male nurse told me that he was out of danger. I also found Yagaraj Bhatta, a student of Balmiki Campus, in the Emergency Ward. The teargas shell hit him just below the knee.

I found myself outside the college, dragging Rookoo, rushing toward the cockpit as soon as I signed off from MSN Messenger. They didn’t let me go outside the main gate. At first I peeped through the corner of the gate. There were not many students and they were only sparsely scattered but they were fiercely throwing bricks toward the police force. There was a big and half-burnt log amid the road and students, it was emitting the smoke. There were students inside the college. Inside and outside the college had a world’s difference. Inside students were basking in the sun, in the BBA block, students were grooming on top of building and chatting. Those students seemed indifferent, ignorant about what’s going on outside.

The otherwise busy road of Putalisadak was full of pieces of bricks. Students also tried to brunt an effigy here on the road. Police retaliated and protesters ran away.

But, the part of the building of our college that face towards the road was full of students. Students were all in the Chhat and Kaushi of the building. I thought, what if they won’t let us go outside, I made my way towards Chhat. Rookoo was yelling, “let’s go back, it’s none of our concern.” We went to the chhat. Ah! There you get an eagle eye view of the riot.

There was no rallying, still, I got to be brave, and I caught my friend’s hand tightly and craned my neck as much as possible. There were police, on the other side of the road (Putalisadak) and they were hiding. Students were throwing bricks targeting the police. There was a little paanshop, our favorite shop, where we bought orange-balls, black-balls and titaura. The fellow spectators were saying that police are hiding beyond that little Tyanki (paanshop). Bricks were falling so heavily on the poor shop that, I think its zinc roof and walls all got ravaged. I am not sure but have to go and see to confirm. And the students on the chhat started chanting anti-royalist slogan, let me write them, “- – – – – goonda, rukhma jhunda” (——- hooligan, hang him on tree), “Aaryaghat le key bhanchha,——-,——- le bhanchha”, ( Aryaghat demands——- and———), Hami Kehi Jandainau,——-,——- mandainau (We don’t want————and——-) and a few more in foul language.

Find the blogger: Avipsha was in this crowd watching the riot down on the road. These students on the chhat of the Shankar Dev Campus building, were acting like a cover to the fellow protesters below on the orad. Whenever police came chasing those on the street, they would throw stones from over the building.

The brick-rain down was waxing and waning. Police reciprocated but not with the same intensity. A couple of time or more, when the police came out of their hideout, all of the students below (in front of the main gate) rushed back- mostly inside the campus and some toward Adwait Marga. So did we, the bird-eye viewers. After a while, when police went back to their place, we came to the same place, that is, at the edge of the chhat. Gosh! I don’t recall whose hands and arms I clutched in the heat of the moment, lest I fell down the chhat and blogging this experience would remain unfulfilled in this juni (life).

This man, one of the leaders of the protest, is carrying the effigy of the king. They burnt the effigy with slogans like “——- gunda katro kin, tero bau ka aaye din.”

There were few national and international journos, snapping and filming. Chhya! I think one Kuhire (blond) scribe, straighten his moving lens towards me. There I was yelling and screaming, “GO GO.” “That’s the spirit” “Move” “Run” with frequent Jindabad (long live) and Murdabaad” (death to you). I stopped as soon as I noticed him pointing his machine to me. Whatever, there seemed dearth of bricks on the road, so we, the students on the chhat, supplied the bricks down. I still feel my heart throbbing to head when I recall the bang bang that we created in the chhat of building that is under construction in order to slice the whole bricks.

As the blogger has mentioned in her write-up, not all students of the college were involved in pelting stones. Some were playing volleyball where as a few, as this photo-blogger could see, were apparently having romantic conversations.

Rookoo was nagging, was cursing me, and was feared to death. But I didn’t move. A guy came and brought a bamboo pole and went forward shoving it towards the police. That was the funniest scene that a police tried to catch the wood and they battled for a while. There were police, all in the four direction of college but surprisingly, we could see only one troop of them, others remained hidden. After a marathon of endurance, they fired a tear gas shell. Luckily that outwitted us and fell heavily in the middle of the road, harming nobody. We cheered loudly in triumph, waving our thumbs down to them. Ok, after a few flux and reflux, they fired another one. Few goofs of it entered directly in my eyes and nose. That was kinda climax, we rushed hither and thither searching for water. Thank God! We found it. With straining eyes, I could see, the battle seemed to calling it a day. Students were now collecting bricks they earlier pelted over police, perhaps, so that they could use it another day and the police would not be anymore supplied by the bricks.

Rookoo’s resistance reached to its climax. Surprisingly, two of our classmates showed up. They scolded, especially me, for Rookoo easily was proved scapegoat. “Are you crazy Avi? What you think you are doing here? Dhruba sir (our administrator) was inquiring about you and was fire seeing you two absent. He sent us to fetch you.” They helped me find the water drum, and thanks to one of the strangers who gave his hanky to me to cool my eyes for longer. Then we returned and I started typing as fast as possible.

After firing two shells of tear gas, police launched an attack. But the intense stone pelting from over the chhat forced them back.

Protest organizers said the program was supposed to be only of half an hour but lately I heard they determined to continue it up to 4 PM. I still can hear the yelling, screaming and sloganeering outside. While I was still typing, our classes were declared to be off, because professors could not enter the campus premises. All of my friends left and I am little hungry. I think I will soon be leaving but I don’t know what will be the situation outside by the time of my departure.

I didn’t throw bricks but I support students, though I really don’t feel like supporting this kind of protest, using bricks and foul slogans. Poor police! They also have no choice, they are also bound by their bread and butter question otherwise I am sure majority consent is for democracy, freedom, justice and peace.

People residing and working near Shankar Dev Campus were out of job. They found the new one: peek into the new world of riots.

In this photo, police are responding with stones. Police do go in such venues with a transparent shield but instead of using that properly, they indulge themselves in the game of stone pelting with students.

Hey! You know what, as soon as I finished typing the blog (earlier one) and left for home, I could not go out. Riot on the road is growing intense. It started from 10.30 AM and continuing till 2.45 PM. My friend, Bikky was analyzing what he saw and felt, this is the first time the aandolan lingered this longer, and students seem excited, hot and fierce than ever. He was saying that he missed his camera back in home when he witnessed a scene: Mrs. Amuda Shrestha, the Campus Chief at Shankar Dev, was outside the campus premises, i.e., in an old gully of Baagbazzar, which is the chorbaato to our college. She was talking on her cell phone, panicked and nervously inquiring about the scene inside the college. Well she had every reason to be terrified because at most of the bad times of the college she used to be the target. Student would go witch-hunt after her, Ok! This is it. Seems I should go before the situation goes worse.

Protest programs in RR Campus ended as per the schedule but students of nearby Balmiki Campus contented pelting stones to police from inside the college. This photo was taken when students of RR were witnessing their fellow students from Balmaki throwing bricks over police. This police officer wanted these students to either leave the place (go home) or go inside the college.

Lau…kha ta…——police. In front of Shankar Dev Campus

15 Responses to “Live From Shankar Dev Campus”

bijaya Says:
December 19th, 2005 at 8:08 pm

It is indeed interesting to see the rioting as the blogger has mentioned. But, I wonder where does this lead to. Although it seems that there are protests going on, but the conduct of the protest events raise a serious question about what should be the ethics of the protestors, the policemen and the human rights observers who are on the scene.

I would like to realate a firsthand experience that I went through in the Shanker Dev area at around 2 pm today.

I had some work in the Kumari Bank and I went through the half opened main gate as the protestors were not targetting the pedestrians. I finished my work in the bank and wanted to go northwards. But I could not go as the protestors were throwing stones at the people using the footpath. I waited for some time in front of the Bank that was outside bricks’ range.

A police officer ordered his subordinates to move us away from there and the policemen raised their batons as if the people staying there were fit to be treated like a herd of sheep. I told the policeman to request the people to leave instead of chasing them like sheeps. He became aggressive towards me and tried to baton charge me. I remain defiant and challenged him. Other policemen intervened and took him away. While I was arguing, one lady criticized the police behaviour and said that the battle is not between the civilian and the policemen but between the people and the king and received an applause. The policemen then chased the people staying there but I remained defiant. The policemen with whom I had argued earlier was looking for an excuse to baton charge me.

After that I walked towards the Putalisadak chowk and the protestors were throwing stones at me. I stopped and yelled at them that I am just a civilian. The stone throwing became less frequent. At that time, I became very angry with their conduct and decided to face them. I started going towards the Shanker Dev Campus from where the protestors were pelting bricks and stones. The policemen staying there were cheering me but I told them to stay back where they were. I was so angry that I did not believe I could be such. I did not recognize my own voice. I shouted at them saying what type of democracy that they are striving for by targetting inocent civilian.

Some argued back, do not I feel the loss of the so many civilian in Nagarkot? I said I feel the loss of life but this does not mean that they can target the innocent civilians like me. I challenged them to bring the organizers of this protests so that I could talk to them about the conduct of the protestors. While arguing with them, tears were running down my cheeks not because of fear but because of anger against them. Some protestors wanted me to leave while one or two wanted to charge me. At the same time, some of the human rights observers rushed and started to take me to the safe area.

Then the arguing with the human rights observers started. I challenged them whether it is their responsibility to ask the protestors not to pelt stones at the pedestrians while they request the policemen not to do such. (I have monitored the UML rally in Baneshwor and I was arrested from the December 10th protest in Bhotahity.) Some said that they try to do that but they also want to remain safe. One asked me what was my identity. I said I am a student. They tried to reason with me that it is foolish thing to go towards the protestors when they are pelting stones.

I knew it was a foolish thing to do but how long could we take such barbaric acts. I thought it was the right thing to stand up and face such illogical acts so that the protestors review their tactics. I realized that while the students resort to pelting stones at the Tri Chandra College where I study, they are more rational than these stupid protestors in the Shanker Dev Campus.

Suresh_rkatbk Says:

December 19th, 2005 at 8:21 pm
Avipsa, Nice coverage. I appreciate your endurance for putting up the story in vivid detail despite facing the tear gas spell. Keep on writing. From now on, I suggest that you put on the moisturizer and gazaal only after returning from your college in the evening. During day time, it is very risky you know (just joking).

I don’t know for how long such game of bricks and stones will continue. I think this is just the beginning. The country’s capital is gradually turning into a chaotic centre day by day. Once the students force and the seven political parties gets in unison for a mass movement, then I’m sure the autocratic regime will have very hard time. Is the King really serious about the prevailing pandemonium?

A Nepali Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 1:20 am
Wagle Jee, Avipsa jee, bijaya jee and Suresh_rkatbk jee

Wagle Jee you are praised for including Avipsaâ?? story. This has given me ample opportunity to put my stray thoughts to share with others. Avipsa thank you so much for such a vivid coverage despite terrified risks for your life. We need people like who have courage, charisma and wit. It is painstaking to read your story which honestly speaking throws me back into our student years (1979-80 BS) at PN Campus. I remember how many of students were instigated by the Anchaladhish (zonal commissioner) to stab their own colleague in the middle of desolate night.

The mandales (today some of them have risen to the posts of SSP and DIGs of police) visited our hostels almost very night and nabbed many of us. Former parliament members Somnath Pyasi (kaski) and Rhishi Kesh Tiwari (Parbat) survived to share their experiences. Arjun Jung Shahi (DIG?) would also share his experiences from his mandale side. Since then the brick culture was started as a weapon of self defense. What is interesting in your story is that the time has come that people are no more patient and they are invincible to royal promises. As actions speak louder than the words—even the ordinary people have started to doubt about royal promises. Kingâ??s eloquent English speech in foreign lands says something but his acts at home express something else. The double standard of the king has invited such unfortunate incidence.

However, it is unfortunate enough as Bijay noted out, the party leadership is not able to harness the boiling blood, the courage and thirst for democracy of our youth. They need guidance, they need to read Gandhi, Nelson Mandela (the living legend) and Martin Luther King. From these readings they will know how powerful the nonviolent disobedience is. We need huge peaceful masses to return our democracy back. I look at the faces of the current cabinet and laugh in solitude. Something very interesting happened all tarnished defaulters are replaced with flamboyant mandales, the one who tried to repress the 1990 movement. Should we expect that the antidemocratic people bring back democracy?

Is there any trace of it that democracy was given to people by autocrat and oligarchs in the human history? First of all power corrupts and the absolute power corrupts absolutely. Which means I have no hope that king Gyanendra gives back democracy. An honest king always has guts to face people and ask people whether they really want him. Why should he be daunted to execute referendum, for instance—if he bolsters so much on his popularity? On the one hand politicians doubt about moral ends through immoral ends. If his whole system is undemocratic and immoral how could it bring a democracy (a moral) back, if it comes back it comes on immoral grounds: full of nepotism.

The nepotism is the poison, which made 1990-democracy fail. Unless we root out nepotism, natabad, phariabad and hajuraibad, we cannot get rid of the status quo. On the other hand the king bolsters about nationality and patriotism and blames at legitimate political parties working for foreign interests while seizing all powers within himself and his cronies/coteries. I have never seen any patriot and nationalist being so greedy for power at the expense of state-honor. I am not a historian, I havenâ??t learned much but I have read Gandhi. What impressed me is that Gandhi never craved for power while he secured not only national faith but also an international honor. He lived not only one life; he is living with all of us, who have faith in democracy and his love is with those who are the enemies of democracy.

That is the character of a patriot, in my blunt mind. Gandhi, despite all demerits of Jinha, wanted him to become the head of the united Indian sub-continent, thinking that the responsibility may open the doors of wisdom in Jinha. That is the sacrifice a true leader makes when he loves his country, his people and his history. The one who seizes power is neither a patriot nor a nationalist but an opportunist autocrat. A true honest king—if he does not bolster that he is not the â??lord vishnuâ?? but a human—should have guts to step down and run for the president. Why 25 million Nepalese can be complacent with a mere voting right but he cannot be satisfied with rights delivered by the constitution? I wonder what are the ends of achievements of the palace? Is it not enough to impose a tax on each gram of salt that half-clothed half-naked our shriveled poor farmers use? Is it logical to kill our brethren with the bullets purchased with the money made from the sweat and blood of our people?

I also like to touch upon the issue whether any suggestion made by foreign countries is poisonous to accept. For instance, there are rumors that 12 point agreement of the agitating parties is made under the Indian behest. I question what is important: the content of the agreement or Indian behest? If you say it is not good because it is under the influence of the foreign country, then let me ask many questions? Was salvation of palace and people in 2007 BS (1950) purely made by Nepali people? Werenâ??t there any objective and subjective reasons? Why were they relieved from Ranas particularly in 2007 BS? Did India play any role there? If you say no then burn down all history books and stop provocative preaching to our children. Forget about that particular event.

Take any other event such as Indiaâ??s independence. Is India alone responsible for her independence? Where did the great leaders of India earned their knowledge to fight the British? If you delve in the history, there is no single such successful victory concerning freedom, independence and civil rights without the pressure and knowledge of foreign nations and friends. The world is inhabited by human and humans are brothers. Why should we be worry about where the knowledge and pressure come from if it is good for us? Is the content of the 12-point agreement is useful to the Nepali people? That is the main question. By the way, where did King Gyanendra learn his eloquent English? Donâ??t tell me he learned in India from British teachers. If that is the case I have a last question: Is that poisonous?

My request- my Nepali brethren, organize mass meetings and demonstrations in peaceful manner without pelting a single brick. We should adhere to Gandhiâ??s principle, that is the only principle which freed the largest number of people in the world. It worked in imperialistic, democratic and apartheid (racist) regimes. There is no doubt about the Gandhiâ??s genius. Letâ??s strictly obey the Gandhiâ??s teaching. Letâ??s be ready to go to jail in tens of thousands. If police hits you on your chick, turn the other one for his pleasure. But never hit back. We shouldnâ??t be worried about what happens tomorrow.

Without freedom and civil liberties, and with autocracy and nepotism in place our childrenâ??s future is any way in peril. So letâ??s take to the streets, not alone but in masses, not only in Kathmandu, but in each district, not every hour but on auspices occasions. My beloved students, you better spend your time at your studies, you are the only hope for us. Democracy should be a concern to all of us not only you. We all should take to streets for you, and fight until our last breath to secure your freedom and civil liberties.

samar Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 4:59 am
well I guess, even the topmost leaders dont have a hint, where the state is heading to? After reading the preceeding blogs, it’s also obvious that major population of the protestors even do not know ‘against whom’ and ‘what for’ they are fighting.

It is always observed that our constitution plays no role on the ways of protests and fight for democracy. Infact we have always realized the need of a fine line between the extremities of protest and the reaction of state to it.
God bless Nepal!

freedomfighter.np Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 10:17 am
Great job avipsha.

freedomfighter.np Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 10:34 am
Ignore the ‘faltu halla’ of bijaya. As far as I know, Kumari bank has a front door as well, one can easily slip to Singhdarbar withought getting sight of Shankerdevians.

Yes, there is one mojor problem of putali sadak that repeats more frequently. Traffic jams created by ‘sawaris’. I had spent hours drumming my bike tank trapped between ‘tempo, taxi, micro, mini, dhuwa, dhulo..’

hawkeye Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 11:10 am
freedomfighter.np

has he not mentioned MAIN GATE?

Crusador Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 1:16 pm
its the gr8 article about live in shanker dev campus. avipsha u showed a gr8 courage to witness all this and explain it to all the people unknown abt this. i salute u for this to informing about all the happenning incidence. keep it up u deserve a great thanx from the people all over the world.

dr. peace Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 1:17 pm
Mixed feelings. Partly seems more real, but I am concerned about the enthousiasm about the interpretation of the protests. Do not confuse constitutional law and order and high ideals with daily life. Maybe we should all be a bit more like the apparent indifferent people, do not go for glory, go for reason. I am positive that Nepal will have a fully democratic Parliament within 10 years of time, and this is the process to it.

May be if people would trust democratic processes it would not have to be so violent on both sides. I cannot imagine Nepal at this stage going to become a military regime, however one should not provoke themn into it. It is a very delicate situation which could easily get worse for the people if there is no slow down of the violence. Our hearts all go out to hope and a political solution to be accepted by all.

replytoall Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 1:42 pm
sucks…….

[icd] students hai…. class ma hoina dhunga hanera padney haru……..kailey raja birodh, kailey ne bi sangh ko birodh kailey akhil ko birodh….chunab ….bhutro ko classs…..education system sudhreko yehi bhayera ho……

freedomfighter.np Says:

December 20th, 2005 at 10:10 pm
Ok, then it happened at the front gate of kumari bank? then it sounds more faltu halla, I think the ohter side of the road (nima photocopy) is out of shankerdevians range.

bibas Says:

December 21st, 2005 at 4:36 am
What a waste of time and resources…Stupid, insane and irrational protestors(so is government of G)…May be there is no other way ahead so far but this is yielding nothing either…so may be its time to look for different ways to bring back democracy rather than conforming to traditional ways which are more inclined towards force than reason….

I was wondering if Bijay is a friend of mine from the building opposite to Stock exchange market…I totally agree with him…

Andolankari Says:

December 21st, 2005 at 1:06 pm
Freedomfighter,

I though you were from that area but now I don’t believe you anymore. Nima Photocopy IS inside the “shankerdevians range”. You can’t stand up in front of Nima Photocopy at the time of fighting, can you? If you can, do that next time and I will definitely break your head by throwing stones from the top of the Shankardev Campus.

bijaya Says:

December 21st, 2005 at 5:31 pm
bibas,
maybe, I am opposite to the share market complex. To be more precise, I am behind Radhakuti Arcade.

freedomfighter.np Says:

December 22nd, 2005 at 2:34 am
Dear Andolankari,

I was talking about escaping a student and police fight, and just wanted to say that it is better to escape than confronting, then criticizing such fights. If the protest is to break heads of pedestrians, why bother throwing stones from Shankaerdev, you can do it with baseball bat or more easily with a hammer, it would be more efficeint.

It must be you who hurled stones to Bijaya last time.

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