People’s Movement amplifies:
19th February, 1990: The next day, the People’s Movement had planned for a nationwide strike. Perhaps emboldened by their victory of the previous day, the public joined hands in making the movement a success, and contributed to the strike.
It was as if the nation had come to a standstill.
In the following days, the protests amplified. In Bhaktapur, after a protest swelled, police had to fire 15 rounds of bullets to dispel the crowds. Sadly, four protesters died. Immediately after hearing the death of protesters, several groups of people, who had otherwise not participated in the protests, pledged their support.
300 lawyers from the Nepal Bar Association assembled at the Supreme Court and demanded an end to the escalating violence by reinstating a multi-party democracy system. Student groups protested on a daily basis. Even teachers, who would otherwise refrain from indulging in political demonstrations, joined the movement.
In the days to come, workers of Agricultural Development Bank, and other organizations also pledged their support towards the People’s Movement – and would regularly announce a one-hour pen-down strike.
Literary figures, writers, artists and several other professionals also expressed solidarity – therefore amplifying the movement which had reached all corners of the nation.
Singh makes an address:
On 2nd March, 1990, after the first phase of the People’s Movement was complete, leaders planned a further course of action. The plan included further protests, and further strikes. On the eve of the second phase of the movement, Singh made thanked the people for their support, and appealed for the further resilience.
In the speech, Singh drew references to the state making a mockery of peaceful protests by resorting to violence, and reminded the people that their efforts would not go in a waste. He reminded the people to refrain from violence, and said that continuation of the movement, and lack of cooperation with authorities would indeed usher in democratic reform within the country.
Singh reminded the people the sacrifices the martyrs had made to end the autocratic Rana regime in Nepal earlier, and that it should not go for a waste. Speaking about the mass arrests against political leaders and activists, he said that the Panchayat system was indeed autocratic in nature, and needed to be thrown out.
In the end he thanked all protesters for their overwhelming support, and ended his address with:
“Violence is not our choice of weapon to realize our objective, resilience is. However, those (government) who resort upon violence, let them be reminded that every action will have reaction, and that they will be held accountable”.
King Birendra addresses the nation:
(Translated): Any form of political system isn’t inherently perfect; they are simply instruments which work for the people’s rights interests, and progress. In the case of Nepal, we have historically been a monarchial nation. The same monarchy, with the will of the people, introduced a Panchayat system. The Panchayat system ideologically, as it has in the past, continues to keep the best interest of the people, and shall continue to do the same in the future as well – with the will of the people. In the past three decades, we have improved the system, and in the future too, shall continue to improve upon it. We should not forget that any person who believes in democracy should dutifully look for solutions while abiding by the nation’s constitutional practice.
Any unconstitutional activity which attempts to bring disharmony, and affects the ongoing peace, stability and security of a nation is in fact detrimental towards ushering democratic reforms. Everyone needs to understand that such kinds of activities aren’t productive to anyone. Any illegal or unconstitutional activity, which goes against the country or its people, will not solve anything. Each Nepali, with understanding, discipline, and protocol, should be unified in serving the country. Political activists should not forget that the pillar to win the trust, belief, and support of the people is by serving them selflessly and unconditionally.
The deciders of Nepal and Nepalis future are none other than Nepalis themselves, and to ensure their best interests, Nepalis themselves must make a strong determination.