Madhesis, Tharus stand opposed to new constitution

Kathmandu, September 20

Madhesi and Tharu parties opposed the new constitution saying it curtailed the rights of Madhesis, Tharus, Dalits, Janajatis and other marginalised communities.

Sadbhawana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato said the constitution did not honour the Interim Constitution and past agreements signed with Madhesi and other forces. Mahato said United Democratic Madhesi Front, which has been protesting in the Tarai for almost a month, would burn copies of the constitution tomorrow. “We will decide our next course of action and our protest will be more effective,” he added.

Tharuhat Tarai Party Nepal CA member Gopal Dahit said the second CA took ownership of the first CA ‘s decisions but did not implement them. He said the constitution did not ensure proportional inclusion of Madhesis, Tharus and other marginalised communities under the right to employment and right to social justice clauses of the constitution.

Dahit said delineation of boundaries was dictated by leaders of major parties against wishes of Madhesis.

He said the parties had agreed to give powers to the provinces to choose their official language at the provincial level but the constitution did not ensure this provision. Dahit said the parties had also agreed to give provinces autonomy and right to self-determination, but these rights were again not ensured in the statute. He added that the statute had failed to give validity to customary laws.

Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Chair Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said he was happy in the sense that he had brought the Big three parties to sign the 16-point agreement, which eventually made the promulgation of the constitution possible, yet he could not join the promulgation programme because in his telephonic conversation with top leaders, they did not accept his demands and that was why he did not sign the new constitution and attend the promulgation ceremony.

Gachhadar said he urged the big three parties to address the concerns of Madhesi and Tharu communities and said he was ready to help find a solution to the problems through dialogue.

“We must seek a political solution to these problems. If parties need my assistance, I will devote my efforts to make the parties agree to resolving the issues through amendment to the constitution,” Gachhadar said, adding that he was ready to help find a negotiated settlement to constitutional issues.