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Publication Date : 28-02-2013
Despite the Nepali government's apathy towards an ongoing anti-corruption campaign, coordinator Sharada Bhusal has been on a fast-unto-death for six days now. Surviving solely on water, with no solid food, Bhusal’s health has greatly deteriorated. She is suffering from prolonged bouts of dizziness and vomiting. Doctors confirmed that she could face extensive damage to her health in the coming days as her blood pressure is decreasing steadily.
According to Bhusal, her throat is parched and she cannot converse. “I can barely sit up. I lie down most of the time but cannot sleep,” said Bhusal, who has been fasting at the Shanti Batika in Ratnapark in Kathmandu.
Dr Tribhuwan Jha of Kathmandu Model Hospital, who examined Bhusal, said that she is allergic to saline water and oral rehydration solution. “The only option is anti-allergy tablets but those are possible only at hospital facilities,” said Jha. The coming days will be worse for Bhusal as it is getting warmer, he said. “If she doesn’t take adequate amounts of water, she could witness kidney disorders like renal failure."
Bhusal, along with anti-graft activists Shyam Lal Sah, Sangita Thapa and Binod Mandal, all of them displaced from the district of Mahottari in Nepal's central region for speaking out against corruption in local bodies in the district, initiated the fast at Shanti Batika after they were arrested while preparing to stage a protest in front of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) last Friday.
Bhusal has been a victim of regular threats back in her home town and said that she cannot return home. She was thrashed repeatedly at the Mahottari Chief District Office, the Local Development Office and other public places. “Even several members of my family are in hiding. They receive threats time and again,” said Bhusal, who has been in the Capital for nearly eight months. She said that even if their demands are addressed, the campaign will only be suspended, not concluded. “I cannot head back home, so it’s better that I give up my life fighting this big war on corruption,” said Bhusal.
The anti-corruption campaigners have filed a complaint at the CIAA alleging that millions of rupees allocated for the Banauli Damauli and Laharpatti Village Development Committees (VDC) in Mahottari had been misused by VDC secretaries. Ram Ekwal Yadav of Banauli Damauli is accused of embezzling 1.9 million Nepalese rupees (US$22,046) while Shatrughan Mishra, secretary of Lahapatti VDC, has been charged with misappropriating 7 million rupees.
The protest was triggered by a long period of inaction and apathy from the CIAA. The campaigners said that they, along with supporters Lalan Sah and Santosh Sah, both residents of Banauli Damauli VDC, had received death threats for publicising the VDC secretaries’ irregularities. They vowed to intensify protests in the days to come as more people are joining them in the fast. Throngs of well-wishers have supported the anti-corruption campaign every day with basic amenities like emergency lights, blankets, mobile phone recharge cards and water.
US$1=86.18 Nepalese rupees