Members of the Chandrakant (CK) Raut-led Janamat Party are resorting to hooliganism to make their presence felt in Madhes ahead of the impending elections.
The party, which renounced plans to continue agitating for ‘free Mades’ to join mainstream politics, has been taking action against people’s representatives and officials, and this has upset members of the bureaucracy.
“Raut’s cadres are acting like hooligans to create an environment of terror,” says Lal Kishore Shah, mayor of Janakpurdham sub-metropolitan city. “The so-called progressive political parties are carrying out such activities, which will make people question the very foundation of federalism.”
Members of the party recently physically abused Rajeshwor Kushwaha, acting chief of Department of Water Supply and Sewage Office, Janakpur. They accused Kushwaha of not doing enough to fill a manhole in front of Raut’s house at Balawa, Janakpurdham-8, forced him to take off his clothes and paraded him across the city.
The party cadres had earlier visited Kushwaha’s office with bamboo sticks to threaten him to follow their orders.
Various professional organizations have condemned the party’s actions. The engineers’ associations, the government trade union, Nepal Tarai engineers’ society, and Madhesi Democratic Society have raised concerns about the incident.
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Acts like these discourage public servants from doing their job, says Bandhu Prasad Banstola, chief district officer, Dhanusa. “The activities of the Janamat Party have made a mockery of the idea of rule of law,” he added. “These kinds of activities are carried out by underground and outlawed groups, not political parties.”
Raut’s men also manhandled another employee of the city. The cadres also vandalized the city’s office as they were denied an appointment with the mayor or his deputy. Armed with bamboo sticks, they had picketed the chief minister’s office on the same day.
“No political group should think that they are above the law,” says youth leader Saroj Mishra. “Raut himself is corrupt, he sold out his agenda. It doesn’t suit him to speak against corruption,” he says. “First, he should make the party’s finances public.”
Raut, meanwhile, says he doesn’t find anything abnormal about the party’s activities. “The people are fed up with corruption. None of the officials listens to the people’s voices. The executive is corrupt and so is the judiciary. The CIAA is also abeting the corrupt. What should the people do then?” he asks.
“These kinds of incidents happen even in places where there is rule of law if people’s voices are not heard,” says Raut. He adds that his party plans to launch a campaign against corruption in the city.
The party has also demanded that police release the 17 cadres arrested following the incident involving Kushwaha. “The 17 were arrested as they resorted to hooliganism and assaulted an office chief,” says DSP Jitendra Basnet.
The party has announced plans to organize a series of protests, including motorcycle and torch rallies demanding their release.