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Sapkota Assumes Office Amid Protest from Right Activist And Conflict Victims

www.reviewnepal.com
  Kathmandu, Nepal      January 28 2020

Kathmandu, Nepal January 28, 2020: Newly elected speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) Agni Prasad Sapkota has assumed his office amid protest from the right activists and conflict victims on Monday. Earlier on Monday, President Bidya Devi Bhandari had administered the oath of office and secrecy amid a function organized at the President's Office, Sheetalniwas.

Various dignitaries including Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana National Assembly Chair Ganesh Prasad Timilsina and many others present in the oath taking ceremony. 

Likewise, some cabinet ministers, government head Nepal Communist Party (NCP) co-chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and many others were also present in the event.  

After assuming the post, Speaker Sapkota said that he would precede ahead the works in the parliament to increase people's hopes and confidence towards the parliament. I will try my best to move forward the democratic values and norms by giving the feeling that the people’s representatives in the parliament will discuss through the democratic manner, he said.  

Responding to the concerns expressed by the media persons that how he planned to move ahead the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact with the USA, he said that a decision would be taken on the basis of the conclusion drawn from the debate. As the Nepalese society including the ruling head NCP has also divided over the issue, the future course of the MCC is taken importantly. 

As discussions have been initiated in Nepali society whether or not to take the assistance under this agreement, I will move ahead regarding MCC by incorporating the aspiration of all the lawmakers, he said. Though the ruling head NCP has also sharply divided, most of the members including the party leadership and Prime Minister Oli have stand in favor of endorsing the MCC from the parliament.  

Responding to the concerns over his own issue related to the pending court case, he said ‘as cases against me are under consideration in court, it would not be proper to think much about these issues, he said. I would like to urge the media persons not to go ahead on this topic because it would not be mature to speak about this topic. 

In the time when Sapkota was being administered the oath of office and secrecy at the office of the president at Maharajgunj, dozens of right activists had gathered outside of the office sighting slogans to protest his appointment as Speaker. 

Police arrested about one dozen senior human rights activists and members of civil society from outside of Shitalniwas while they were staging protest against the election of murder-accused Sapkota for the post of speaker. Sapkota is accused of involving in a murder case related to the Arjun Lama during the insurgency period. 

The right activists have been protesting rightly after the ruling head NCP decided to nominate murder-accused Sapkota for the post of speaker. Following the party’s decision, he was elected as speaker of the HoR unopposed on Sunday.

The decision to appoint Sapkota as speaker of the HoR has created a big jolt not only among the right activities and conflict victims but also in the ruling head NCP as well.  Protesting the party’s decision, an advisor of the president, Sushil Pyakurel, has already resigned from the post.  

Likewise, the conflict victims have threatened to invite the international community including the United Nations to intervene in the ‘botched’ justice process initiated by the incumbent government. 

The appointment of Sapkota as Speaker and recent decision to appoint the office bearers in the transitional justice mechanism is protested from the right activist and conflict victims stating that the government’s activities have dampened their hopes to get justice.