Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Nexus of loan sharks with state machinery?
he loan-shark victims from 14 districts had announced in advance a plan to travel to Kathmandu on 3 April to launch protests and about 400 victims did arrive in Kathmandu on that day. They are currently continuing their protest while taking shelter at Shanti Vatika. But another group comprising 72 victims preempted the current group and marched for 11 days from Bardibas in Mahottari district, reaching Kathmandu on 26 March. That group succeeded to garner a countrywide wave of sympathy and dramatically GoN declared loan-shark business a criminal offense on 28 March. GoN signed a 5-point agreement with that group on April First (no pun intended) and the victims returned home. Based on this agreement GoN promptly constituted a Commission on 3 April under Enquiry Commission Act 1969, with former judge Gauri Bahadur Karki as chairperson, requiring it to submit a report to GoN within 3 months. By design or otherwise the Commission was constituted on the day the currently protesting group reached Kathmandu. Everything happened on a fast-track basis. Although the current group had rejected the 5-point agreement, GoN formally published an order in Nepal Gazette on 17 April constituting the Commission, laying down its terms of reference thereof and on that very day police unleashed terror on the victims at Shanti Vatika, mercilessly beating even women, attacking them with water cannons and tear gas.