Nepal wakes up to kidney smuggling menace
When ‘kidney doctor’ Amit Kumar was arrested in Nepal in 2008, it opened up a pandora’s box — the international kidney rackets were luring poor and illiterate Nepalis as “cheap donors”.
Now, the Maoist-led government has come up with new legislation to “protect” poor Nepalis from being victims of the kidney smuggling rackets.
The Nepali cabinet on Thursday decided to pass an act to control racketing in kidney. The Human Organ Transplant Act now limits kidney donations only to relatives.
“The decision is a great relief for us,” Abhishek Pratap Shah, a member of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly says. Till today, the Himalayan nation did not have any law to punish smugglers of human organs.
Earlier, Hindustan Times had reported that Jyamdi village in Nepal’s Kavre district was Amit Kumar’s main kidney bank, and over 25 per cent of the villagers had “sold” their kidneys to smugglers in India for economic reasons.
Interestingly, Kumar was also planning to set up a hospital in Kathmandu for kidney transplantation.
The new Human Organ Transplant Bill will now be placed in the Constituent Assembly during the next session, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday.
“Taking advantage of the people’s poor living condition, smugglers have been duping people of Nepal,” says Shah, adding that both India and Nepal should now take up a joint operation to crack down on the international kidney smuggling networks.
Even after Kumar’s arrest, there are reports that another kidney smuggling network, based in Chennai, is luring donors from Nepal. Unfortunately, the poor donors suffer from a lot of post-operative complications, as they don’t get the proper medical care after the kidney donations.
“We will have to enforce the new legislation strongly,” says Kathmandu-based journalist Yugnath Sharma. The government should also impart proper training to police personnel, he says.