Student Protest Against Banda in Biratnagar
BIRATNAGAR STUDENTS AGAINST BANDA
Already one of the poorest economies in the planet, Nepal is further plagued by problems such as the ongoing political instability, growing insecurity and threat to people’s lives and properties. Nepal has been plagued by the phenomenon of strikes (Banda) for over a decade now. Some of the frustrated students came to Bikalpa-An Alternative office to discuss on the alternative to banda that was affecting the study of the students and curtailing citizen rights to earn their livelihood. We decided to give a platform to one of the student to pitch their idea in our Last Thursday’s program where many students take part on. On August 25, 2015, Rupesh Ghimire gives a short pitch about how they can work to pressurizing the banda organizers and government stakeholders to let their education institution function. After the program, during the tea-cookies and networking session, students from different college discuss about the program. They decided to meet at Bikalpa office for further discussion on the very next day. On 26th August, group of College Student gathered at Bikalpa an Alternative Office to discuss on the solution of ongoing political strikes organized by different political parties since last two weeks. Having meeting in Bikalpa office they came with the Idea of Symbolic peaceful Protest. Officially the campaign was kicked off from 30th August .They created the group named Biratnagar Students against Banda and decided to gather every day for solidarity chain at Traffic Chowk, Biratnagar
The objective of the Campaign was to
•Inform the students about the challenges faced by them due to this ongoing strikes and who should be held accountable.
•Encourage and assist the students to get involved in civic engagements.
•To encourage the students to raise their voice against the social injustice and be a torch bearer of the future
1st Day of the program overview:
The students from over 18 educational institutes around Biratnagar expressed their solidarity for a cause. As many as around 100 students gathered at Traffic Chowk and created the solidarity chain with their slogans against banda. Later they marched to the District Education Office for a sit in protest to question the Government as to why no steps were being taken to address the opening of the schools and colleges after so many days of protest. They conducted mock classroom in the District Education Office. Hence on very first day, they made a statement to the government through the District Education office regarding reopening of the college. In a public statement, they briefed the District Education officer of the dire situation of our future due to continued strikes. They also urged him to take immediate necessary action. Today was the beginning of this event, which we have decided to take to its second day. We will be organizing further programs tomorrow.
2nd Day overview of the program:
The student continued the campaign defying the violent protests in the city and gathered at Traffic Chowk at 10am for solidarity chain and Marched to District Education Office at 11am. The student had a brief half an hour discussion with various offers of the District Education Office where they raised the issue of Accountability. A mock class room session was also conducted where students participated in Debate Competition. The three hours long program ended with the students deciding to take the protest for day.
3rd Day Overview of the program:
On third day, they continued the solidarity chain program with slogans against banda and marched towards District Education office where they continued their protest. The students further quizzed the DEO authorities and asked them to be more accountable and demand the District Education officer to appeal to the higher authorities to take the action. On 3hour long event, the students in quiz competition and other capacity building programs in front of the DEO as a symbolic protest.
4th Day Program Overview:
After having continuous 3 day symbolic protest in District Education Office. On 4th day Students gathered in Traffic Chowk having a play card in their hands and marched towards the District Administration Office Biratnagar. By handing over delegation Letter to Chief District Officer finally the symbolic protest came to an end and second phase of the program was started. The chief District officer committed that full security would provide to the school and colleges.
5th Day Program Overview:
On the 5th day, Biratnagar Students against the Banda group organized Leadership and Self Development Program in the Premise of American Corner hall, where the students from various colleges participated. The main of this initiative was to utilize the free hours and make students time more productive. The program was facilitated by Director of Biakalpa an Alternative Mr Basanta Adhikari. 88 students took part on the program.
6th Day Overview of the program:
On the sixth and final day of student’s campaign, 2nd phase of the program was concluded with Elevator Pitch Competition where all the participants pitched their ideas about “How Strikes affects Education”. The winners were awarded with gift hampers and One Year membership of American Corner. With this, the second phase of the campaign concluded on a bright note with the participants deciding to form a committee and regularly organize events involving students and civil societies. Also the Nepali translation version of the Peace Love Liberty Book was also distributed among the 50 students of different colleges. We all were departed by having group Photo.
The student’s activities were covered by the local and national print and television media on the regular basis. Participants said that this kinds of banda was a good use of their time, which help them to learn and do the networking.