KATHMANDU: With Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee Krishna Sitaula clarifying the meaning of the provision on religion after consulting the top leaders of major parties, Rastriya Prajatantra Party–Nepal on Saturday ended the ongoing obstruction of CA deliberations. The provision in the draft constitution regarding ‘freedom to remain away from any religion’ under article 31(1) right of religious freedom was understood as right to convert religion by RPP-N. Hence, the party had tried to obstruct CA deliberations since Friday. Their sloganeering continued alongside deliberations until CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang managed a meeting with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, UML Chair K P Oli and UCPN-M Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal. RPP-N Chairman Kamal Thapa said the right to remain away from religion was included in the fundamental rights and the party had resorted to obstruction citing that the provision could have adverse impact in a country where lakhs of people and entire villages were being converted in a planned manner. “Since the provision could be misused and that might create problems in maintaining social harmony and unity, we decided to obstruct the CA meeting,” he said. Thapa thanked the CA chair, the PM, UML and UCPN-M chairs for clarifying on the issue. In the middle of the ongoing deliberations CA Chairman Subas Nembang provided time to CDC Chair Sitaula to clarify issues over which RPP-N had objected the Constituent Assembly deliberations. Sitaula said the provision — ‘freedom to remain away from any religion’ did not mean right to convert any person’s religion and the sub-clause had clarified that forcible conversion of religion would be punishable. He said Kamal Thapa himself had approved the provision before it was sent to the CDC for drafting. Commenting on the development, Thapa told reporters that the provision of right to convert religion would no longer be included among fundamental rights. UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, however, said the provision on religion wouldn’t be removed, but amended after receiving suggestions from the people. As the deliberations continued, permission of the CA to publish the first draft of the constitution in the Nepal Gazette was sought so as to receive people’s feedback. Meanwhile, four Madhes-based parties are preparing to boycott the CA after informing about their concerns. CA secretariat sources said more than 400 CA members had registered their names to express their views during deliberations. Fifty of them had spoken by on Saturday. CA Chairman Subas Nembang said he has been urging the leaders to work in a manner that would enable delivery of the new constitution within July.
RPP-N ends obstruction after Sitaula clarifies on religion related provision
Published: 07:52 am Jul 05, 2015