Tarai leaders term statute charter anti-Madhes
KATHMANDU, July 24
Madhesi leaders of Tarai districts say the draft constitution is anti-Madhes and Madhesis cannot accept the same.
Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sunsari chief CN Pathak told The Himalayan Times over phone from the district that the draft did not ensure names and boundaries of the states and its provisions related to citizenship and inclusion were anti-Madhesis.
“Madhesis sacrificed lives for federalism and now the draft does not contain the names and boundaries of the federal units,” Pathak complained.
He said Madhesis were among the five communities/ groups that were entitled for reservation under the Interim Constitution, but the draft constitution has proposed reservation for 10 groups, including the advantageous groups. “Reservation should be for Madhesis and other groups that are marginalised,” he argued.
Madhesis sacrificed lives for federalism and the draft doesn’t contain names or boundaries of the federal units
— CN Pathak, TMDP leader
Pathak said the draft constitution’s proposal to make a foreigner married to Nepali woman wait for 15 years to be able to qualify for naturalised citizens could victimise their children in case the father dies before the wait period was over.
Yadubansha Shah, central committee member of Nepal Sadbhawana Party, told THT over phone from Morang that if the Constituent Assembly promulgated a new constitution sans federalism, a new government that would be formed under CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli could further dilute federalism and postpone it endlessly.
“Parliament does not make the constitution. It only helps in running the country’s administration,” Shah said and added that the new government would fill its own people in the commission and would seek a report that would suit its interests.
“The UML government would want the commission to carve out minimum number of states with north-south boundaries and in case it fails to do that, the government will keep extending its term,” Shah argued.
The ruling class introduced the ‘and’ provision in the citizenship clause of the draft constitution mainly because it still views Madhesis as second class citizens and people of Indian origin, he added.
“Everybody knows that Madhesis have marital relations with Indians. Draft wants to bar naturalised citizens and citizens by birth from holding the constitutional posts. We cannot accept this,” he said and added that the ruling class had unfounded fear of Indians coming to Nepal to acquire citizenship through matrimonial relations.
“India is far ahead of us in every respect. Why would Indians be tempted to marry Nepali women?” he wondered.
Central committee member of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Shankar Rajbanshi said over phone from Jhapa that Madhesis feared that once the federalism issue was postponed, it would never be a realised.
“The four parties have agreed to have eight provinces but what prevents them from naming them and demarcating their boundaries?” he wondered.
He said Madhesis in his district felt that the draft was like the constitution of 1990.
Unified CPN-Maoist Central Committee member Ram Rijhan Yadav, who is busy educating the locals about the discriminatory provisions of the draft constitution in his home district of Siraha, said Madhesis would not accept the constitution if it did not ensure federalism and if it did not incorporate ‘or’ provision in the citizenship clause.
“Until on Friday children of Nepali men married to Indian women are getting citizenship by birth but the draft constitution wants to curtail this right,” he said. On federalism issue, he said Madhesis could go for three states in Madhes but not more than that.