‘Unity in best interest of Janajati empowerment’

Kathmandu, September 21:

Janajati activists have stressed the need to hold wide-ranging discussions and lay groundwork to realise aspirations of indigenous nationalities.

“We have a long way to go. None of the indigenous groups are clear about issues they have been raising,” said Sangeeta Lama, a journalist, while presenting a paper at the seminar on “Agenda of Indigenous People in the upcoming Constitution” organised by Martin Chautari here today.

Janajati organisations are yet to forge consensus on the right to self-determination, she said.

“So much so, they are not clear about the terms right to self-determination and ‘autonomous state,” she said, calling on ethnic organisations to hold discussions on the type of federalism and autonomy they really want, Lama said.

Conflicts are rife within proposed autonomous states. For example, the Lepchas have been demanding a separate autonomous state for them within the Limbuwan Autonomous state.

The movement of indigenous nationalities has been city-centric, Lama said, adding that it has failed to penetrate villages.

Lama feared that ethnic autonomy might not be achieved not because of others but because of lack of clarity and conflict among indigenous nationalities themselves. Indigenous nationalities are hit the hardest during natural calamities, she said.

Presenting another working paper, president of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Pasang Sherpa said NEFIN is against forming a separate party of indigenous nationalities.