Thu, 07 Dec 2023

Man burns self after accusing state of failing him repeatedly

Khalid Umar Malik
26 Jan 2023, 15:27 GMT+10

KATHMANDU, Nepal - On Tuesday, a 37-year-old man died after setting himself on fire in front of the Parliament building at New Baneshwar, Kathmandu.

Following the incident, videos circulated on social media showing Prem Prasad Acharya running to the middle of the road while Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was leaving the Parliament with a motorcade before setting himself on fire. Acharya was rushed to a hospital in Kirtipur, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning.

Dr. Surendra Basnet, chief of the hospital's burn ward, stated that by the time Acharya was admitted, 80 percent of his body had burn injuries.

Before committing suicide, Acharya, 37, of Ilam, had written a lengthy Facebook post describing his struggles, particularly how he had failed to achieve his goals due to the state's failure to monitor the illegal activities of large corporate houses and other assorted frauds. Acharya described his struggle to solve his financial problems and provided a list of 25 recommendations to ensure good governance.

He has asked the government to create a welcoming environment for citizens like him who want to work in the country instead of the millions who have left for better opportunities abroad.

Acharya's death has sparked a debate about the Nepali state's obligations to its citizens, particularly those who, despite their best efforts, cannot find good jobs or start businesses. And what the state should do to ensure they do not resort to extreme measures like Acharya.

Meanwhile, a group of activists took to the streets of Kathmandu on Wednesday afternoon to protest Acharya's death. Protesters marched from Maitighar to New Baneshwar, where Acharya had set himself on fire. They called their protest the 'Kathmandu Uprising' and carried placards that read 'it's murder, not suicide,' and 'Is this country a slaughterhouse?'

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