Kathmandu, January 24
Unhappy with the first amendment of the constitution, the agitating Madhesi parties have threatened to intensify their agitation.
Sadbhawana Party Co-chair Laxman Lal Karna said the first amendment passed by the Parliament yesterday did not fulfil the demands of Madhesi parties and neither did it respect the sentiments of agitating forces.
He said that under the garb of 15 clusters for reservation, particularly in the name of women, and backward regions, only the Khas Arya group that had 80 per cent representation in state organs would benefit.
He said the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front wanted only socially excluded groups to be beneficiaries of the state’s affirmative action, but the major parties had added economically and educationally backward people.
“The government’s document hasn’t defined these two terms. How is the state going to implement this vague provision?” he wondered.
Karna said the Parliament amended the fundamental rights Article of the constitution yesterday, but it did not do anything with other Articles that deal with appointment of ambassadors, office bearers of constitutional commissions and recruitments in the security agencies, including Nepali Army.
General Secretary of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sarvendranath Shukla said UDMF would hold its meeting tomorrow to discuss the passage of two amendments, but its future strategy would be determined when all the chiefs of UDMF constituents gather in the capital.
Shukla said the pressure of people staging the sit-in at the border entry points and those spearheading protests in the districts had mounted on the UDMF in the face of ‘brutal state suppression of protesters in Rangeli and Dainiya and the government’s unilateral decision to pass the Constitution Amendment Bill.
“We have such pressure from people on the ground that we can’t even utter the words ‘withdrawal of blockade’.
“The government harbours prejudice against UDMF,” Shukla said, adding, “We had told the PM that if Bimalendra Nidhi’s proposal on the Constitution Amendment Bill was accepted, we would not sign a deal but would welcome the passage of the amendment bill, but the government did not accept Nidhi’s proposal.
Meanwhile, the Federal Inclusive Madhesi Alliance today issued a press release saying that the decision of the major parties to pass the two amendments to the constitution was reflective of their non-chalant attitude and tendency to act unilaterally.
He said it was this attitude of the government that had vitiated the atmosphere for forging consensus.
FIMA said it would not accept the two amendments and would continue its general strike and border blockade until further decision.
Federal Madhesi Front also issued a release expressing dissatisfaction with the two amendments. FMF leader Kaushal Singh said the amendments did not ensure representation by population and reservation for other backward classes.
Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal decided to intensify the ongoing agitation and the border blockade.
Mahesh Chaurasiya, press adviser to FSF-N Chair Upendra Yadav, said a meeting of the party’s central committee said the two constitutional amendments that were passed yesterday were incomplete and it would not accept them.
The party decided to give the ongoing agitation a national form by launching a Kathmandu-centric movement.
It urged the government to control black-marketing and withdraw false cases against agitators.
The party also appealed to forces championing the cause of identity to unite to take the agitation to a logical conclusion. The FSF-N also demanded a high-level probe into the use of
lethal force and sought immediate relief for people affected by the April 25 earthquake.
Address other issues too: India
KATHMANDU: Spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup termed the passage of the first amendment to Nepal constitution a positive development.
Issuing a brief statement, Swarup said, “We regard the two amendments passed yesterday by the Nepali Parliament as positive developments.
We hope that other outstanding issues are similarly addressed in a constructive spirit.”
A version of this article appears in print on January 25, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.