Kalanki Chowk, that witnessed massacre of 4 protesters on April 20, today marked another milestone by paying condolences to them and vowing to continue fighting for loktantra.
By Deepak Adhikari and Tilak Pathak
Kalanki Calling: Around two lakhs people gathered in Kalanki today Pic by Prakash Mathema
Every nook and corner of Kathmandu Valley is celebrating the victory of people power. It seems that people from all parts of Kathmandu are participating in today’s procession. Kantipur scribe Ujir Magar and I (Deepak) passed through the unending crowd. It looked jubilant, people were singing, dancing and merrymaking in the streets. They arrived in truck, buses, minibuses and motorcycles. Many ethnic Nepali musical instruments such as Sahanai, Narsinha and Damaha were used in the procession.
A huge mass coming from Koteshor, Lubhu and Bhaktapur gathered in Satdobato. UML leader Siddhilal Singh thanked media for making the movement a success. SPA leader Amik Sherchan said: “This movement is not for revival of parliament.” He said that the movement’s goal is a republican Nepal. “This is only the starting point,” he told a huge mass. He warned that unless the king holds power, there is no guarantee that king doesn’t stage conspiracy. He said there was a clandestine understanding with Maoists to be part of movement. He was of the opinion that this achievement was only partial.
He remarked that the upcoming meeting of Parliament would withdraw the charges of terrorist upon Maoists. According to him, the new government will announce cease-fire with the Maoist.
After Sherchan’s speech, the mass marched all the way to Kalanki where around 2 lakh people gathered to listen to UML leader Madhav Nepal and NC leader Ramchandra Paudel.
When we reached Kalanki, the program was going on. Mr. Mani Kafle, racantonteur and Janaandolan star, was entertaining the mass. While he was reciting poems, the mass was clapping. Residents were sprinkling water from the rooftops to cool the mass. Mr. Mani, with his gift of gab, immediately responded: “These are the drops of republic.” Other artists also sang. Martyr Deepak Biswakarma’s father displayed photo of his son and mass applauded to him. Himal Rai of Joint Left Front gave speech. At the same time, Madhav Nepal arrived. He climbed a makeshift stage in a balcony, milling and cooing in the crowd. Mr. Rai had to stop his speech when Nepal received avalanche of applause from the mass. Mass greeted in the same way to NC leader Ramchandra Paudel. This shows that people still respect and love the party leaders.
United People’s Front leader Bednidhi Adhikari said that this change is not for appointment of ministers and parliamentarians. He demanded to form a commission to search the disappeared protesters. Nepal Sadbhawana Party’s General Secretary Rajendra Mahato announced the official decision of SPA’s meeting today morning. He said that they had decided to conduct the poll of CA to fulfill people’s longing. People will choose what kind of governance they want. He warned people to remain vigil, for the king can betray at any time. He asked all to remember the sacrifice of martyrs. NC (D) leader NP Saud also gave speech.
NC leader Paudel said: “This is only the beginning of victory.” He assured people that full-fledged victory would be realized only after parliamentary sessions. He glorified Kalanki as a courageous place. “I salute the revolutionary spirit of Kalankians,” he remarked. He further added: “CA poll will decide on the fate of our country.” People overwhelmingly supported him while he promised not to repeat the mistakes of the past. He vowed to establish democratic system in coming days. MPs have agreed not to take the allowances of the four-year period when the parliament was dysfunctional. He said: “We will make only that kind of decisions that will get accolades from public.”
UML’s Nepal said: “Until and unless our goals are achieved, our struggle goes on.” He pledged the government to provide 10 lakh rupees for the martyrs family and 2 lakh rupees for the injured protesters. “Both of their children should get free education,” he demanded. He assured that the guilty people who suppressed the movement would not go unpunished. He said that the so-called municipal election as well as all the actions taken by royal government would be invalid.
Meanwhile, long closed Open Theatre (Khula Manch) was captured by the protesters today. At 3:30pm, protesters were gathered there, ready to hear young and civil leaders such as Gagan Thapa, Pradip Giri, Ramkumari Jhankri, Krishna Pahadi, Prof Ram Man Shrestha and journalist Binod Pahadi. SPA has announced another mass meet for Thursday afternoon at Open Theatre.