Thursday 18 July 2019

Protesters take to streets of Nepal’s capital over plans to nationalise trusts

Community and religious trusts are responsible for organising festivals and ceremonies.

Nepalese Newar community people gather during a protest against the government in Kathmandu (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)
Nepalese Newar community people gather during a protest against the government in Kathmandu (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Thousands of people gathered in Nepal’s capital to protest against proposed legislation that would allow the government to nationalise centuries-old community and religious trusts responsible for organising festivals and ceremonies.

The protesters gathered near the prime minister’s office in Kathmandu chanting anti-government slogans and blocking the road.

There were no clashes between the protesters and police on hand.

Police at the protest estimated there were about 20,000 people in the crowd.

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Slogans are shouted during a protest against the government in Kathmandu, Nepal (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)

The trusts can date back generations and are run by communities to support specific goals, such as maintaining a temple or arranging an annual religious ceremony.

They are normally funded by donations and some have large holdings of property or land.

Nepal’s prime minister Khadga Prasad Oli announced on Tuesday that the bill would be withdrawn from parliament just a day before the planned protest.

The protesters said they were not convinced the government was serious and worried the bill could be brought back later.

“We are not looking for withdrawal of the bill from parliament only.

“We are demanding that it is totally scrapped and there are assurances that it not be brought back again,” said Bishnu Raj Shrestha, who had closed his shop to join the protest.

PA Media

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