Nepal – The Interim Constitution, the Madhesi Turmoil
Asia in focus ⬿

Nepal – The Interim Constitution, the Madhesi Turmoil

Support our journalism. Become a Patron!
February 2, 2007

By Dr Bal Gopal Shrestha – Ending a long uncertainty, Nepal received its interim constitution and a new parliament with the Maoist rebels on 15 January 2007. The old parliament that King Gyanendra was forced to revive on April 2006 has been dissolved. This was a big leap forward in Nepal’s history because it completely denies any power to the king, which signals a virtual end of the 239 year old feudal Shah dynastic rule in Nepal. Most importantly the preamble of the constitution states, the sovereign people of Nepal has promulgated this constitution but not by any single person or a power centre. This makes it clear that for the first time in the history of Nepal, people in Nepal made a constitution for themselves. This is a landmark victory achieved by the Nepalese people. It can be said that this is also the beginning of a new era in the history of Nepal. Nepalese people can be proud of it and cheer it in many ways.

However, my concern here is (not that we do not rejoice in the achievement) in seeing why so many people are angry about this constitution compelling them to agitate against it. Right from the time the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Maoists agreed to proclaim this constitution we felt something was wrong with it, as the Nepal Sadbhavana Party, one of the constituents of the seven-party alliance had to write a note of dissent. However, the SPA and the Maoists leaders failed to realize the gravity of the matter. Especially, the four big constituents, namely the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), Nepali Congress (Democratic) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) appeared unprepared to understand the genuine demands of the Madhesi community and the indigenous nationalities. Instead of paying attention to their demands, they were busy in bargaining for parliamentary seats for themselves. No doubt that the interim constitution is a document of compromise and is not in any way a definitive one. It, however, shows the leaders of these parties are not ready to change their mindset to give up the privileges that they had been enjoying. This is the root cause that sparked the fire in the Terai and now it is burning throughout eastern Terai.

Of course, we can put the blame on the palace, reactionary forces or any other seen or unseen apparition for the unrest in the Terai, but that would not diminish the weight of the genuine demands put forward by the Madhesi community for equal rights. We must admit the fact that for centuries, people of Madhesi origin and all other nationalities remained exploited under the hands of the Shah ruler and their cliques- the hill people, the Khasa or the Brahmin and Chetris. After the April 2006 revolution, there were lots of discussions on restructuring of the state, but the ruling Brahmin and Chetris managed to secure a safe haven for themselves by denying any clear commitments to oppressed nationalities, Madhesi and low caste people.

(continued here)

Genocide on the Verge: Army Deployment
By Vivaswan – Not satisfied by brutally killing at least 1 dozen of peaceful protesters (govt’s data) by storming their bullets over Madheshi ethnics and seriously injuring more than a thousand of protestors many of whom are struggling for their lives in hospitals, clamping curfew in Madhesh now for last one month to supress the democratic voices of people, and sending tens of thousands of its armed force to crush the opposition, now the government is contemplating for mobilizing Nepal Army for the ethnic cleansing of Madheshi. Today Minister of State for Information and Communication, Dilendra Badu, revealed in a press conference:

“The issue of enforcing emergency or deploying army was discussed but nothing has been decided. The government may take “all necessary legal steps” in order to control Terai violence. ”

By revealing up to this extent in press conference means, the government and parliament of ruling classes people have already gone too far, and have already prepared to mobilize Army against Madheshi for the ethnic cleansing, and was just testing the world’s reaction.

The steps the government has been following do not seem different by any means to what went in Darfur, Rwanda or Cambodia. The genocide is on the verge.

Also See

We're fighting for our lives

Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.

independent uncompromising indigenous
Except where otherwise noted, articles on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License