Kathmandu, November 30
The United Democratic Madhesi Front and the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal today issued separate press releases stating they cannot accept the constitution amendment bill in its current form. FSF-N is also a constituent of the UDMF.
“We cannot accept the constitution amendment bill, which was unilaterally registered in the Parliament by the government yesterday because the bill does not address the issues raised by Madhesis, Janajatis and deprived communities,” the UDMF said in its release.
The release was jointly issued by UDMF leaders, including Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Chair Upendra Yadav, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur and Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Chair Mahendra Prasad Yadav.
FSF-N Chair Yadav told THT that the UDMF was united in opposing the bill. “We decided to oppose the bill because it does not address any of the demands of Janajatis and Madhesis,” he said when asked why the UDMF lacked total appreciation of the bill. “The government made a false claim that it consulted UDMF leaders on the bill.”
Yadav said the agitating parties were raising the issues of rights and dignity and would continue to fight for their cause. “The three major parties want to continue to discriminate against Janajatis, Madhesis and other deprived communities,” he added. Yadav said the UDMF was primarily concerned about the struggle and would think about elections only in future.
Yadav earlier issued a release stating that the government committed a blunder by registering a constitution amendment bill that was far from addressing the demands of indigenous nationalities, Tharus, Khas, Muslims, women, Dalits and Madhesi movement.
He said provincial autonomy and 10-province model were still being treated as disputed issues and the concerns about five Tarai districts Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur were yet to be addressed.
“There is no mention of proportional representation on the basis of the population of ethnic groups and recognition of national identity,” Yadav said.
He added that the UDMF had been demanding two provinces in Madhes and the electoral college suggested in the bill to elect Upper House members would reduce the representation of Madhesis in the Upper House.
“The Federal Alliance has been demanding representation based on population. If the constitution is amended as per the bill’s proposal, Madhesis would never be in majority in the Upper House,” Yadav stated in the release.
He said the agitating forces had demanded that those women who acquire naturalised citizenship on the basis of matrimony should be treated as citizens by descent but the bill continued to treat such women as naturalised citizens, implying that these women would never hold top constitutional posts.
Yadav said the bill did not propose any concrete changes regarding language.
“If the bill cannot address national issues, it cannot win acceptability and cannot be implemented,” Yadav stated in the release. “The bill will only pose challenge to peace, stability, nationalism, national unity and could create conflicts,” Yadav said.
“We cannot support this bill in the current form. We will continue our struggle and movement against all kinds of racial discrimination.”
A version of this article appears in print on December 01, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.