Kathmandu: On Monday, National Assembly member Komal Oli, who is also a singer and a household name among Nepalis, recited a satirical poem at the Assembly’s meeting. The poem, which she wrote herself, apparently compared the country’s political leaders with animals such as a monkey and chameleon.
Oli had taken a jibe at the factional politics and changing nature of coalitions among political parties in Nepal, where it’s not unusual for “communist” parties to side with right-wing outfits to form a government.
“Monkeys do not have a country, nor their own image,” Oli’s poem read. “Neither do monkeys that change colors like a salamander have their permanent status.”
Following Oli’s remarks at the Assembly, Kishor Shrestha, a journalist and ex-chairman of Nepal Press Council, wrote a Facebook status responding to the poem.
Shrestha alleged that Oli was “tainted” herself and that it was unbecoming of a member of National Assembly to “stoop so low” in criticizing the politicos.
Shrestha’s remarks get more personal and threatening. Remarks by a person who led the Press Council, a statutory body that monitors the ethical aspects of journalism including right to privacy and freedom of press, raised many eyebrows.
Nepalis in social media have decried Shrestha’s remarks, calling it “sexist” and “misogynist”.
“If you are not satisfied with the work and words of women, it is better to critique them with facts and arguments; not with threats like, ‘If you talk too much, I will expose your character, so shut up!’” tweeted Amrita Lamsal, author and social activist. “Let’s get rid of this ‘addiction’ (yes, addiction) of doing politics on a woman’s character.”
Mohna Ansari, a human rights activist, suggested Oli to take legal actions against Shrestha like she did in an earlier case involving Raghuji Pant.
Girish Giri, a writer and journalist, wrote that our society is not “interested in who Kishore Shrestha sleeps with” but “puts interest on whom an unmarried woman was or is close to”.
While many pointed out that it was unbecoming of a person of Shrestha’s stature to issue such a crude remark, others highlighted that it was not the only time Shrestha had been mired in controversy.
“This status is written by the same man who had compelled Shrisha Karki to take her own life,” author Sujit Mainali wrote on Twitter.
Mainali was referring to an August 2002 case involving actor Shrisha Karki, who took her own life after the tabloid Jana Aastha published her nude photo. Shrestha was then the editor of the tabloid.