Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 17:

Leaders of major political parties today said minority communities can preserve their religion, language, culture and tradition and improve their socio-economic condition only in a democratic system of government. The leaders were addressing a function organised to announce the unification of Nepal Muslim Ittehad Association and Nepal Muslim Ittehad Organisation. Chief guest, CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, hailed the Muslim community for its patriotism and struggle for democracy since the Rana regime. He pointed out the need for equal participation of all communities in governance. “For this, we have to fully democratise the state mechanism and address grievances of all backward communities,” Nepal said. He said a country would never prosper by undermining religion, culture and tradition of the minorities.

Nepal appealed to the Muslim organisations to modernise their Madrasas and encourage Muslim girls to go to school so that the community can mingle more with others. According to latest census, Muslims account for 4.2 per cent of the total population, the third largest community from the religious point of view. However, the literacy rate of the community stands at a mere 27.6 per cent, the lowest as compared to other minority community. Eighty per cent of the community live below poverty line.

Central leader of NC Narahari Acharya pointed out the need for restructuring the state mechanism to improve the living standard of the backward communities. He said the state should formulate both short and long-term policies to address the problems faced by the these communities. “Everybody should have the right to religion and the state should not favour one,” he said, adding that Nepal was declared a Hindu Kingdom for the first time when a new constitution was introduced in 2019 B.S.

The three constitutions formulated earlier, one during prime minister Padma Shumsher Rana, the interim constitution of 2007 BS and the constitution of 2015 BS, did not define Nepal as a Hindu Kingdom. Hridayash Tripathi of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi) said civil liberty has no meaning when people are deprived of citizenship certificates. Organisers drew the political parties’ attention to an eight-point agenda that highlights the plight of the communities.