Business Community Nepal Banda: Deplorable

We also strongly condemn the internet black out for an hour today by Internet Service Providers

Yes, we agree that what suspected Maoist cadres did to Harilal Shrestha of the Hotel Woodland yesterday was inhuman, unjustified and thus qualifies to be condemned without a second thought. The act, torturing and beating, is deplorable. Maoists have denied doing so but THEY must be answerable to that particular incident because they are the ones who are on rampage against almost anyone. BUT the general strike called by the business community in response to that (and recent Maoist highhandedness against businesses around the country) is equally irresponsible and inappropriate. And the 1-hour-long Internet shutdown by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to express their solidarity to the general strike is deplorable and thus deserves to be condemned. Who are these folks to close down the service that is branded as ESSENTIAL? We don’t need another Gyanendra Shah to deprive us from Internet. [Gyanendra closed down Internet in Nepal for a week when he took over the government in the Feb 2005 coup.] We don’t need another information and communication blackout on any excuse. NO. ISPs must give compensation to the customers and publicly commit that they will never do such foolish thing in future.

And about the sudden banda (general strike) that begin today and will continue tomorrow. Weren’t you the guys (businessmen) who always condemned this particular form of protest? And now WHY you are going for the same? Just because the Prime Minister refused to meet you guys on the gate of his official residence in Baluwataar? Why couldn’t you just sit over there for the day and continue with your protest? Why couldn’t you thought about continuing with dharna and, may be ansan, in front of Singha Durbar? Are you sure your protest program is free from the participation of blacklisted individuals?

Here is the background:

Business community announces indefinite shutdown against Maoist “excesses”

The business community today declared an indefinite closure of all industries, factories, import-export, education institutions, transport, and business from 3pm today, protesting against Maoist attacks on entrepreneurs. The agitating Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) today announced its indefinite strike, stating that the government had not appeared “serious” regarding their problems.

A team led by the FNCCI — which had arrived at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Baluwatar residence to hand over a memorandum stating their demands– publicized their plan of
agitating during a press meet organized in front of the no. 3 gate of the PM residence. Angered by the PM’s refusal to meet them, the representatives of the business community had announced their strike there and then. According to sources, the irate entrepreneurs had headed towards Durbar Marg following the announcement. The protesters then took out a rally in the streets of the capital.

President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Binod Chaudhary said that although there had been repeated instances of Maoist intimidations, threatening, taking over of factories, yesterday’s brutal thrashing of an hotelier was the last straw. “It is pointless to continue with the business and industries when people are being taken from a central place like Durbar Marg and beaten up in such brutal manner,” Chaudhary said. He further added that Nepal’s economy would suffer heavily if the activities to bring down the morale of business community continue as present and the government and the eight parties do not get serious and guarantee security to businesspersons. Chaudhary warned of continuing with the agitation and shut down until eight party leaders are able to “convince the private sector” and until an appropriate arrangement is made to address the demands of the agitating business community.

Following their announcement, all the business ventures including banks were shut down after 3pm today. Likewise, the Internet Service Provider Association of Nepal (ISPAN) today expressed solidarity with the protest, shutting down internet services for an hour from 4pm to 5pm all over the nation.

Earlier, the Maoists had forcefully seized Harilal Shrestha, the owner of the Hotel Woodland at Durbarmarg, Kathmandu yesterday and beat him up severely, on the charge of supporting the king.