HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A Cabinet meeting today decided to remove the statue of former king Tribhuvan from the Shahid Gate and place it in the Narayanhiti Museum.
Statues of four martyrs Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Ganga Lal Shrestha, Dasharath Chand and Sukra Raj Shastri, who sacrificed their lives while protesting against the Rana regime that ruled for 104 years, are placed at the Shahid Gate, and on the top of all is placed the sculpture of former king Tribhuvan. In 1950, former king Tribhuvan with the support of the Nepali Congress had pushed for a democratic government by abolishing the Rana oligarchy.
Dharma Bhakta and Sukra Raj Shastri were hanged till death while Ganga Lal and Dasharath Chand were shot dead on the charges of acting against the Rana regime and demanding civilian rights.
“The government took the decision considering that the Shahid Gate should have the statues of martyrs only. Former king Tribhuvan’s statue will be put on display with honour in the Narayanhiti Museum,” said government Spokesperson and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha. The 40-foot-tall Shahid Gate was built by former king Mahendra, son of Tribhuvan, in 1961 but then it was known as Nepal Monument, according to historian Saphalya Amatya’s book Monuments Around Tundikhel.
“Though king Tribhuvan cannot be considered a martyr, his contributions in the democratic movement of the 1950s cannot be ruled out. So, it would have been better if his statue had not been removed from there; this is about the history of Nepal,” said historian Triratna Manandhar. “It is not good to ‘erase’ the history,” he added. “The Gateway of India in Mumbai was built by the British rulers to welcome British monarchs. The Gateway still stands there even though the British empire ended its rule in India more than half a century ago,” said Manandhar.
Though there had been a longstanding tradition of prime ministers visiting the Shahid Gate to pay tributes to the martyrs after assuming the office, four prime minister — Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal and Baburam Bhattarai, all elected after Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 — broke the tradition by visiting the Martyrs’ Monument in Lainchaur.