EDITORIAL: Hope for the better

The political parties in the country and none of the interest groups, whether in the name of gender, ethnicity, religion, or some other thing, are fully satisfied with the Constitution

In mere four months of the promulgation of the new Constitution, it has gone through the first amendment. The two amendments ensure proportional inclusion for backward communities in state bodies and a greater number of electoral constituencies in the Tarai region, making population the main and geography as the second criteria for determining the number of constituencies in each district. This measure seeks to address the demands of some Madhes-based parties, now grouped into the United Democratice Madhesi Front (UDMF), and the serious discontent registered by the Indian Government. The failure to achieve a breakthrough on those issues has created political unrest in several parts of the Tarai, particularly central Tarai, and the blockade on Nepalese imports.

India has termed the two amendments as ‘positive’ and expressed the hope that ‘other outstanding issues are similarly addressed in a constructive spirit’. And the UDMF is yet to make its formal stand clear. Indian diplomats and some government leaders said earlier that the passage of the amendments would help defuse the situation in the Tarai and fully open the border points, particularly the Birgunj-Raxaul points. Goods have been entering Nepal in a very controlled way since the blockade started four months ago, and the restrictions have loosened somewhat of late. Now it is hoped that the blockade will be fully lifted and the agitating Madhes-based parties will also join the political mainstream and contribute to smoothly enforcing the new Constitution.

Now there is no need for the UDMF to continue the agitation. The protests in Parliament by the UDMF lawmakers against the passage of the amendment bills should be taken as a move to show that they want to have all of their demands met and keep the space open for future agitation even though the situation may gradually return to normal as the result of the present amendments. It should also be understood that none of the political parties in the country and none of the interest groups, whether in the name of gender, ethnicity, religion, or some other thing, are fully satisfied with the Constitution, because they have not got all their demands fulfilled. The same applies to the Madhes-based parties. It cannot probably get all its demands fulfilled because their fulfillment will affect many other groups and may have other implications of serious nature. But they are always free to convince other parties in Parliament to help bring and pass further amendment bills or they should get a Parliamentary majority in the elections. Other countries can at best make friendly suggestions to Nepal on some of the major issues but insisting on implementing them constitutes unwelcome interference. They should know that the present Constitution of Nepal is the result of the widest participation of the people. It was endorsed by nine-tenths of the CA members, something not seen elsewhere in the world, is more inclusive, guarantees more human rights and provides more for various groups that are seen to have fallen behind in development than probably any country that has seen serious shortcomings in it.

Right move

The Metropolitan Police Office has started maintaining a Biometric Accused Data Record of persons arrested for involvement in criminal offenses. Electronic images of fingerprints, photographs and type of criminal offenses of the accused are some of the measures the police have taken to curb the crime. So far, the police department has maintained Biometric ADR of 4,739 accused in the Valley.

The move will definitely help keep track of persons involved in criminal activities. In the past many accused would walk free even if they were rearrested on other charges. With the introduction of this advanced technology none of the criminals will be able to hoodwink the law enforcement agency. Those records will also be shared by Criminal Investigation Department, Election Commission and District Administration Office to scrutinize the persons accused of any kind of offenses. It will also be helpful to bar the accused to prevent them from contesting elections as the central computarized system will easily identify the accused. This system must be applied in other parts of the country so that the criminal justice system can be strengthened in a free manner.