Kathmandu, June 20: Thousands of people from the Newar community gathered at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu on Wednesday to protest the government’s move to undermine Newari culture and tradition by introducing a new law on Guthi.
Elderly people, children, politicians, artists and people of all ages took part in the protest, said a report in The Himalayan Times.
The protest was held despite the government’s withdrawal of the controversial Guthi Bill, which had courted criticism and sparked mass protests. The bill aimed to change the operation modality and ownership structure of Guthis, which, many say, would pave the way for the land mafia to make hay.
Protesters warned the government against repeating the mistake of infringing upon the rights of guthis, which, they said, had played a key role in preserving the nation’s culture and tradition.
Protesters were miffed at ministers who had referred to them as ‘people hired to support feudalists’.
“These ministers must resign,” Yadav Lal Kayastha, a cultural activist and a Guthiyar, told the mass gathering.
“Newars do not have a feudal mindset. It is the government that has a feudal mindset as it used force on peaceful protesters and introduced the bill without holding consultation with stakeholders,” said Suraj Manandhar, a rights activist from Save Nepa Valley.
Wednesday’s protests saw participation of Newars from around 32 major Newar settlements in the valley. Renowned singer Yogeshwor Amatya, music composer Nyuhu Bajracharya and Newars from Dhulikhel and Banepa joined the protest.