Nepal Proposes Constitutional Amendment to Create Madhesi State
The Nepal government has proposed a second state in southern Nepal where the Madhesis are present in large numbers
Nepal's government has proposed amending its constitution to carve out a new state to meet the demands of the Madhesi community whose protests for a bigger federal state last year left more than 50 people dead.
Bill Registered in Parliament
Late on Tuesday, the government registered the bill in Parliament. The bill proposes a second state in southern Nepal where there is large presence of the Madhesi community.
Hridesh Tripati of the Terai Madhes Democratic Party said on Wednesday it was a welcome move but still inadequate.
It is one step forward and good progress but it is still not enough. This new proposal does not cover the districts we have been demanding to be included in the Madhesi state.Hridesh Tripati, Terai Madhes Democratic Party
He added that an alliance of Madhesi parties will meet to decide if it was going to accept and support the government’s initiative.
The Madhesis are unhappy with the constitution that was adopted last year in Parliament. They were dissatisfied with the territory assigned to them in the new federal states in the constitution.
Protests Almost Paralysed Nepal
Protests that lasted for months last year left more than 50 people dead and paralysed southern Nepal. Border points with India were blocked, causing severe shortages of fuel, medicine and other supplies in Nepal.
A new government that took over in August promised the Madhesi groups it would look into their demands, and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ also got their support in a Parliament vote for his position.
The Madhesi community says they have always been discriminated against, and do not get equal opportunities in government, employment, education and other rights.
Police reported small protests on Wednesday in southwest Nepal against the government’s plan, but there were no reports of violence.
The proposal will be debated in Parliament next week. The government needs the support of two-third of Parliament to approve the change. The main opposition party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), has not said yet if it will support the bill, and passing it would be difficult without their support.
(Published in an arrangement with AP)
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