The Hanuman Dhoka Durbar area has become a popular spot for youngsters to spend time together. They sit on the temple patios on dates and the locals have now started an awareness campaign believing this is leading to social and cultural ruin.
Instead of going to their schools and colleges, students arrive in pairs early in the morning at Basantapur, still in their uniforms. They’re often seen in compromising positions which has spurred the locals to volunteer for the campaign.
A couple of weeks ago, local activist Ganapati Lal Shrestha and metropolitan sub inspector Kedar Karki along with the traffic police managed to get hold of some of these students near Kumari Ghar. They talked to the young people and sent them home after explaining why their behavior was not appropriate.
The locals have organized a committee for conserving local heritage in order to stop the increasing trend. According to Shrestha, young people are seen dating on the patios from six to 11 in the morning and from six in the evening to eight PM.
He says there’d be no issues if only they were just talking to each other. But their openly inappropriate behavior has irked the locals around. “Everyone can see the students hugging and kissing. Instead of being in class, they come here still in their uniforms. They’re mostly found in Chyas dewal. These sights affect our local children and even we find it difficult to walk that way,” he says.
Another local resident, Gautam Shakya, also says the same thing.
In the Lakshmi Narayan dewal, where deities Lakshmi and Narayan are worshipped, such acts have made it awkward for the priests to come for worship.
Where earlier these patios were full of elderly people enjoying the warmth of the sun, now these have been taken over by the young.
“It’s really sad to see young people coming here early in the morning in the cold and do improper activities. Parents see dreams for their children and send them to school. But instead they come here when they should be studying hard. The government must do something to put an end to this,” Shakya says.
Sub inspector Karki believes that if parents aren’t able control their children at this crucial age then their futures might be at stake. He says that young people throng to the area in the evening in their motorcycles.
“Every day there’re almost 200 motorcycles are here in the evening. They start coming in from six and for two hours, Basantapur is a dating spot for the young,” he says, adding, “Since we started collaborating with the locals, we’ve handed over many young couples to the Jansewa Police while speaking to the others. We make those caught in extremely inappropriate manner sign forms stating they’ll never do anything like that again.”
Jansewa DSP Bedh Bista states that the Jansewa Police has caught around 20 couples in the past two weeks alone. The police call up the guardians of these young people and speak to all of them in the station.