Nepal’s final draft constitution tabled amidst protest

nepalparliamentKATHMANDU: The final draft of Nepal’s new Constitution was tabled in the Constituent Assembly tonight amid protests and slogan-shouting by members of Madhesi parties and other opposition groups.

Constitution Drafting Committee Chairman Krishna Prasad Sitaula tabled the revised draft which included seven provinces rather than the six agreed in the breakthrough deal between the parties earlier this month.

Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang has called a meeting of the House for 8 am on Wednesday.

Sitaula presented the bill amidst obstruction posed by Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal whose members chanted slogans demanding restoration of Hindu status of the country in the new Constitution.

Likewise, Forum-Loktantrik, among other Madhes-centric parties, boycotted the meeting this evening expressing their reservation over the new Constitution’s draft. Presenting the bill, Chairman Sitaula said that the Constitution can be promulgated after amending the bill.

“We can discuss on all issues right here, we can search for solutions,” Sitaula told lawmakers as several opposition members chanted slogans.

Earlier this month, major parties in Nepal — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Unified CPN-Maoist and Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum — struck a breakthrough deal to carve the country into six provinces in the new Constitution which sparked off protests by many opposition parties.

Hundreds of demonstrators have campaigned against the draft charter, saying the proposed provinces fail to ensure political representation for marginalised communities, including the Madhesis.

Nepalese police arrested over 30 people as demonstrators yesterday tried to enforce another nation-wide strike against the proposed seven state federal solution in the draft Constitution.

“We have arrested 30 demonstrators in Kathmandu for trying to block roads, vandalise vehicles and close shops,” a police spokesperson said.

Schools and colleges were closed, markets remained partially shut and vehicular movement was thin in the capital city as supporters of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationality (NEFIN) enforced a general strike to press their demands for more rights and representation in the new Constitution.

They are also protesting the proposed borders of the new federal units in Nepal, which they say, discriminate against the historically marginalised communities, including the Madhesis and Tharus.

NEFIN has also demanded delineating the federal states on the basis of ethnic identity and formation of an ethnic commission. – From Press Trust India


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