The government will hold discussion with stakeholders and bring a new revised Guthi Bill, said Padma Kumari Aryal, minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation.
Even after the government withdrew the controversial Guthi Bill registered at the National Assembly, thousands of protesters, especially the Newar communities from the Kathmandu Valley, gathered at Maitighar Mandala on Wednesday demanding the total cancelation of the bill.
“What is cancelation? The bill tabled in the upper house has already been withdrawn. Now, what’s left to be canceled? ” said Aryal in a television interview Janata Janna Chahanchan.
“It was not given a final shape. No discussions were held. It was proposed but withdrawn. I don’t understand why it should be canceled.”
“No bill becomes final as soon as the government presents it. After a bill is tabled in the parliament, discussions and interactions are held on the proposal before it is sent to the committee including their suggestions. The committee then holds consultations with the stakeholders. Next, it is sent to the parliament and where it is rediscussed before being endorsed,” she said.
“A bill goes through a long process before it becomes a law.”
“The Guthi Bill was only proposed in the parliament. But why are not they ready to hold consultation? ”
“After the public pressure, we withdrew the bill… but for now.”
“Now, we will consult with the stakeholders and bring a revised Guthi Bill.”
“Even Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has said the bill can be corrected. I have said that.
Aryal claimed that the ministry had frequently called stakeholders to hold a discussion on the bill.
“We had said we were ready to make necessary correction in the bill. But even after a frequent request, they refused the call and took to the streets.”
“There was no need for a demonstration.”
On the eve of the biggest protest since the 2006 People’s Movement–the main opposition party Nepali Congress also expressed solidarity with the protest against the bill. The NC obstructed the parliament and barred Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli from addressing the House about the Guthi Bill and his recent Europe visit.
Asked will the government not heed the demand to cancel the bill and not to reintroduce it again, she said, “If it is so? Why did they write in the constitution that they need Guthi Bill? Didn’t all the parties sign the constitution? Do they have moral rights to raise the issue? The constitution states that the government should bring the Guthi laws.”
During the demonstration, the protesters also demanded the resignation of Minister Aryal and Communication and Information technology Minister Gokul Baskota.
Minister Aryal said, “It is their freedom to speak their views. What do we have to do is upon us.”
“Controversy is not a big thing. It’s a democracy. People have the right to express their opinion and speak their voice. Based on that, corrections are made.”
In a query that the Kathmandu based Newars have said the bill failed to represent them, Aryal said, “Guthi experts were involved in drafting the bill.”
“We have called the representatives,” she claimed.
According to her, the bill was introduced to protect the culture, religion and century-old tradition.