‘Draft statute a betrayal of Madhesis’


Madhesi leaders of Tarai districts said a constitution without federalism will amount to betrayal of Madhesis.

Abdul Rashid Khan of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, Kapilvastu, said over phone from Taulihawa that 52 Madhesis had sacrificed their lives during the Madhes uprising, but the draft constitution did not have names and boundaries of federal units. “Big parties have not even recognised the Madhes uprising in the preamble of the draft constitution,” he argued.

Khan said naturalised citizens were not discriminated even during the Rana regime, but the draft constitution had proposed to bar them from holding top posts. “If you accept somebody as Nepali citizen, you cannot discriminate against him/her. Madhesis are very angry and if their concerns are not addressed, there will hit the street the very day the constitution is promulgated and the major parties will have a big problem at hand.”

No demarcation of states and harsh citizenship provisions have irked Madhesis

He said the public feedback programme was merely eyewash. “Hardly 100 people attended at any centre in my district, but there were 200 people guarding the feedback collection centres,” Khan said, adding that at least 165 copies of the draft statute were supposed to be distributed in each ward, but there were less than that number of copies in one constituency in his district.

Chairman of Kapilvastu-based MAHURI Home Ravi Thakur called the draft a regressive document with harsh citizenship provisions.

“The draft constitution intends to postpone federalism. Big parties do not want federalism and if they have to go for it, they will only create powerless federal units,” Thakur added.

Central Committee member of National Farmer Women’s Association Bijay Laxmi Ray said over phone from Rupandehi that federalism was linked with Madhesis’ rights and they could not wait any more for it.

Adviser to Federal Socialist Party-Forum Nepal Birendra Patel said over phone from Nawalparasi that Madhesis were opposing the draft constitution mainly for its failure to fix the names and boundaries of federal units and also because it did not do justice to Madhesis.

“Children of Nepali males married to foreign females have been getting citizenship by descent, but the draft constitution proposes to end this,” he said.

Chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, Bara district, Nawal Kishor Singh said over phone that a constitution without federalism would be a betrayal of Madhesis.

He said the draft constitution mentions one language policy. “We are Madhesis and we speak Bhojpuri in our area and we want our language as a means of communication in our Pradesh,” he said.

Singh said  the drafters of the constitution had also tried to hoodwink the public by mentioning just ‘inclusive,’ and omitting the word ‘proportional’ in various Articles.

Chair of Other Backward Class Federation Kaushal Singh said the OBC could not accept the draft because it did not ensure proportional inclusion of OBCs in appointments and promotions. “We will accept the draft only if it ensures federalism and equal rights for all citizens,” he added.