Nepal bureaucrats on warpath after minister runs amok
Kathmandu: Nepal`s civil servants went on the warpath Wednesday after a junior minister ran amok, assaulting the topmost bureaucrat of a Terai district.
The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry was encircled by protesting civil servants in Kathmandu while government offices were shut down in the Terai plains Wednesday to protest at the Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperatives Karina Begum slapping the chief district officer of Parsa, Durga Prasad Bhandari.
The assault occurred Tuesday when the government had deployed hundreds of armed policemen at the entry points leading to Kathmandu valley fearing violence as the former Maoist guerrillas called a blockade of the capital and its two neighbouring towns.
However, while the blockade passed off peacefully, the minister triggered a storm when she strode into the office of the district`s senior most bureaucrat and slapped him four times, giving him a black eye and causing his glasses to fall on the ground and splinter.
The minister was angered by the fact that the administration had sent an `old car` for her use during her visit to the district.
Her ministry said it was the best they could do since all its vehicles had gone out on official work.
There was an outcry by civil servants and the media for the minister`s resignation. Civil servants` associations Wednesday began petitioning Home Minister Bhim Rawal, asking for tough action against the errant minister.
Karina Begum belongs to the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Democratic) that split from the biggest Terai party Madhesi Janadhikar Forum this year with the intention of joining the government.
The Terai party`s ministers and lawmakers have been increasingly tarnishing the Terai movement.
Though the party swept the plains during last year`s elections with the promise to obtain rights for Terai residents, who have remained ignored by the state for centuries, its leaders have been showing themselves to be hungering for power, disunited among themselves and coming to blows during disagreements.
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