Violence mars hearings on charter


People on Monday aired their views on the first draft of the new constitution in public hearings organised by Constituent Assembly Secretariat across the country.

“Public hearings were organised successfully across the country despite some disruptions. People expressed their views overwhelmingly with enthusiasm,” said Bharat Raj Gautam, spokesman for the CA Secretariat.

Disruption in public hearings was reported from Dhanusha, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Parsa, Saptari, Siraha, Nawalparasi, Kapilvastu and Rupandehi, according to Gautam.

“Disrupted programmes were rescheduled for tomorrow in some places, while the public hearings were organised amid disruption on Monday itself in other places,” he said. The CA Secretariat had received more than 17,000 suggestions via its website, email, toll-free number and fax till this evening, according to Gautam.

CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang received suggestions from 16 organisations, including Nepali Army and Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce, according to assistant spokesperson for the CA Secretariat Sudarshan Kuinkel.

Many people could not record their views during the hearings due to time constraint and poor management in handling the programme.

Some dissident groups tore and burnt the copies of the first draft of the new constitution, while others vandalised the programme venues. Protests were resorted to by some dissident Madhes-based parties and Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal.

Bishnu Subedi, 78, of Machhapokhari, said, “I took part and observed the programme but did not give any suggestion because our suggestions are not going to be included.”

“Most of the suggestions toe the line of some political party or organised groups,” said Ram Bir Manandhar, who-led the public hearing in Balaju.

Police detained 69 people involved in vandalism and disruption of programmes from 10 districts and released them on Monday itself, according to Nepal Police Spokesperson Kamal Singh Bam.

Meanwhile, some dissident Madhes-based parties condemned the government for using force during their protests.


Salient suggestions

  • Direct election must for chief executive
  • Reproductive Health Right for women should be ensured
  • There should be a threshold system for parties’ representation in Parliament
  • There should be direct election of chiefs of wards in local bodies
  • Ensure right to produce children even without getting married
  • Ensure equal right to women in issuing citizenship certificate
  • Five-state model better than eight-state model
  • Teachers Commission should be constitutional
  • People’s suggestions must be included in the constitution
  • Educational qualifications and age bar should be determined for all public position holders, including parliament members and ministers
  • Christians should not block voluntary conversion of religion
  • Differently-abled people for ensuring rights of all kinds of impaired instead of hearing impaired only
  • Nepal should be a Hindu state or there should be religious freedom instead of secularism; referendum can be held to decide


Disruption in Kathmandu

  • RPP-N workers vandalised chairs in the programmes organised at several places, including Dasharath Stadium
  • Some groups tried to disrupt programme in Kirtipur
  • Cadres of RPP-N and Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN Maoist resorted to protest and tore or burnt copies of new statute
  • Expressed anger over negligible time for the people’s suggestions
  • Aang Kaji Sherpa-led group tore draft chanting slogans for identity-based federalism and secular state in Dhumbarahi


Vandalism outside valley

  • In Rautahat’s Gaur, chair was thrown at former prime minister and CPN-UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal by Madhes-based party leaders and cadres; six vehicles, including Nepal’s, were vandalised outside the programme venue; police had to fire six rounds in the air and two dozen tear gas shells to bring the situation under control; 18 police personnel, including Superintendent of Police Bhim Dhakal and DSP Sudhirraj Shahi, were injured in the incident; more than 25 Tarai Madhes Democratic Party leaders and cadres hurt in the incident
  • UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal greeted with black flags at Siraha’s Mirchaiya by the Madhes-based parties and others; a clash erupted between the police and agitators after the protesters started hurling stones at Dahal; seven police personnel injured; police fire tear gas shells to bring the situation under control
  • An improvised explosive device thrown at a vehicle carrying CA members, including Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, while the vehicle was heading towards Khairenitar in Nuwakot; the bomb missed the vehicle
  • Cadres of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal hurl stones at Coordinator of Constitution Draft Committee Krishna Prasad Sitaula at Baniyani in Jhapa; four persons, including two police personnel, hurt in that clash between police and agitators
  • More than 40 protesters hurt in a clash with police in Janakpur
  • Madhes-based party cadres burn copies of draft statute outside the DDC Hall in Rajbiraj; clashes erupt after police intervene and several party men are hurt