CPN (Maoist Center) lawmaker Radhesyam Paswan has threatened hunger strike in the House if Education Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha does not resign over the Rupa Sunar incident.
Speaking in the National Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Paswan stressed that Minister Shrestha, who went to the police station for release of the landlord accused of caste discrimination, should resign immediately. He accused Shrestha of making mockery of the Constitution by dropping the alleged perpetrator home on his government vehicle.
"I am demanding resignation of education minister. I am ready to stage hunger strike in the House if resignation does not come," he warned.
Many CPN-UML leaders from the faction of Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli have already demanded resignation of Minister Shrestha over the Rupa Sunar incident.
Former minister Jagat Bahadur Bishwakarma at the start of the meeting of the organizing committee for the 10th general convention at Baluwatar on June 30 had stated that Minister Shrestha committed a mistake in the incident, and demanded self-criticism and resignation.
"The behavior displayed by senior central member in the Rupa Sunar case is unfortunate and condemnable. This has hurt all the citizens who are against caste discrimination. Such things also affect the trust and hope toward UML. He must, therefore, self-criticize," Bishwakarma had demanded.
"He couldn't become the guardian of everyone in capacity of a minister. I advised that he should resign showing high morality even though I have cordial personal relation with him," Bishwakarma told Setopati.
Another leader Bam Bahadur Bishwakarma also demanded Shrestha's resignation. Other UML leaders since the meeting have also demanded apology and resignation from Shrestha.
PM Oli, in response, had said that Shrestha's action ill behoves a minister and added that Shrestha conceded with Oli that he committed a mistake in emotion and vowed to not repeat such mistakes in the future.
Minister Shrestha had reached the Metropolitan Police Circle Singha Durbar for release of the landlord who refused to lease a room to Rupa Sunar due to her caste.
The police released the woman from Babar Mahal, Kathmandu with Pradhan surname after the District Government Attorney Office pointed at inadequate investigation and instructed the police to do further investigation.
Minister Shrestha took the landlord to her home on his government vehicle with flag after her release.
The issue of a federal minister dropping a person accused of ethnic discrimination to her home was widely condemned.
The police had arrested the landlord on June 20 and submitted the investigation file to the District Government Attorney Office after interrogating the woman while in custody. The District Government Attorney Office did not take the case to the court citing lack of evidence to implicate the landlord.
Sunar, who lives with her mother, had hunted for a room at Babar Mahal on June 15. The 24-year-old presenter of 'Ukali Orali' program on Image Television liked the room that her friend showed. The landlord, Sunar claims, had first agreed to lease the room and the rent was finalized.
The dalit girl had said she is a daughter of kaami (black/goldsmith) when asked about her ethnicity by the landlord. She claims that the landlord refused to lease the room after finding out that she is a dalit.
She lodged police complaint against the landlord accusing her of ethnic discrimination on June 17. The police lodged ethnic discrimination and untouchability case against the landlord. The offense carries jail term of three months to three years and a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 200,000.