Most people were happy with a cleaner city, but there were others who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ratna Tripathi, 71, from Kavre was visiting relatives in Baneswor when he was detained for half an hour along with dozens of commuters. "I just want to cross the street," he kept telling the police.
People were chased back from sidewalks into inner alleys. Even those watching from shops along the streets were asked to go inside. "Get him, kick him if he does not listen," a police sub-inspector shouted to his juniors.
Hundreds of police and army were deployed along Bauddha, Swayambhu and Ekanta Kuna, areas with substantial Tibetan populations. Ngawang Lakpa Sherpa (picture above), a monk from Lamidanda, was detained in Gaushala while trying to get to the airport to catch a flight home to meet his parents. The police searched his robes and luggage, but refused to let him go. Prem Lama, who was riding with Ngawang to the airport was also detained. Ngawang was bundled off to Gaushala police station and missed his flight.
"I am a citizen of this country and this is how I get treated, just because I am wearing a robe," Nawang told Nepali Times. Over 200 monks, pilgrims and even tourists with Chinese passports were detained because police suspected they may be planning an anti-Chinese demonstration. A vaguely "Tibetan look" was enough to get one arrested on the streets. A Vietnamese monk was arrested in Gaushala.
Near Pashupati, a bus carrying Indian tourists from Himachal Pradesh was stopped and taken to Gaushala police station. Dolma Negi, a member of the tour group, was questioned repeatedly about the purpose of her visit just because she had a Tibetan-sounding name. She kept saying she was a tourist like everybody else.
If the debate over whether to have a presidential or prime ministerial system is so polarizing, imagine what it will be like if we ever have a French model constitution. With the 31 May un-extendable deadline for the CA looming, the parties seem to be stuck over what kind of state structure and governance we should have in the new constitution.
While the Nepali Congress and the UML have teamed up with 16 smaller parties in favor of an 'improved' parliamentary system, the Maoists have patched up their internal rifts to vigorously push for a directly-elected executive president.
The Madhesi parties have not come out openly in favour of a directly elected executive, which means they may have some reservations about the system. But as long as they are in the government, it is unlikely they will support the parliamentary system, either.
As long as the parties are not talking about meeting half-way, wasting time in trying to impose their line on the other is going to mean further delays. In an effort to pressurise one another, the parties are opening side fronts. The Maoists have refused to budge on integration of their fighters, while the NC is stalling CA proceedings over the government's decision to legalise decisions taken by Maoist 'people's government' during the years of conflict. The Madhesis Front is threatening to bring down the government over the stalled four-point deal that helped form the coalition.
All this is unfolding on the backdrop of a 14 hour electricity cut, severe fuel shortages despite a fresh hike in prices. An ex-minister was arrested on charges of kidnapping a businessman, and the Prime Minister is so stressed out he has taken a long weekend off in Dhulikhel.