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Protests over draft statute

Monday, July 20th, 2015
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Policeman takes away a man who tried to disrupt public feedback collection program in Kalikasthan, Kathmandu on Monday. Photo: Bikram Rai

Protests erupted in several parts of the country as the Constituent Assembly (CA) members reached their constituencies to collect public feedback on the draft constitution on Monday.

Some unidentified youth hurled a petrol bomb at a vehicle by which Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat was heading towards his constituency in Nuwakot district. Mahat escaped unhurt.

Cadre of Sadbhavna Party hurled a chair at CPN (UML) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, vandalised his vehicle and disrupted a program at which he was collecting public feedback on the draft in Gaur, Rautahat. Police had to use tear gas shells to disperse the agitating cadre.

Nepal later denounced the incident and dubbed those who tried to attack him as ‘people without positive mindset’. The CPN (UML) also condemned the attack and said the constitution writing process would not be halted by such unlawful activities.

Other Madhes-based parties also tried to prevent the CA members from collecting public feedback, clashing with police personnel in several Tarai districts like Saptari, Bara, Parsa and Dhanusha. Parts of the East West highway remained blocked due to protests by Madhesi cadre.

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RPP-N cadre stage a sit in demanding a Hindu nation in Kathmandu on Monday. Photo: Bikram Rai

In some other parts, the Hindu Royalist RPP-N tried to disrupt collection of public feedback on the draft constitution.

In the east, regional political outfits demanding an autonomous Limbuwan province burnt copies of the draft constitution, shouted slogans and clashed with police personnel.

In Dang, cadre of the Netra Bikram Chanda-led CPN Maoist stormed into a school compound where the CA members were interacting with people. Police arrested two of Chanda’s cadres for trying to disrupt the program.

In Kirtipur, it was the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist that burnt copies of the draft constitution.

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A woman writing her suggestions on the draft constitution in Kathmandu on Monday. Photo: Bikram Rai

Baidya, Chanda and Limbuwan parties had not contested the last CA elections and they are out of the constitution writing process. The RPP-N contested the elections and emerged as the fourth largest party with 25 lawmakers, but is against secularism and wants a Hindu nation.

Madhesi parties, except Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar’s Madhesi Jan-Adhikar Forum (Democratic), are against the draft constitution. They say they will accept the new constitution only if it is promulgated after naming and demarcating federal provinces.

The NC, the CPN (UML), the UCPN (Maoist) and the MJF (Democratic) have signed a 16-point deal to pass the new constitution deferring the task of naming and demarcating federal provinces to future provincial councils and a yet-to-be-formed commission respectively.

Despite violent protests in some parts, people showed enthusiasm to give their feedback on the draft constitution by interacting with their CA members across the country. Professional organizations have also held separate programs to come up with their collective feedback on the draft.

Monday was the first of the two days allocated for the CA members to collect public feedback on the draft constitution from their respective constituencies.

 

 

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