Nepal marks first Constitution Day, Madhesis hold protests

Kathmandu, Sep 19 (IANS) Nepal on Monday celebrated the first anniversary of the promulgation of its new Constitution amid opposition from Madhesi parties who marked it as a “Black Day” and held a protest rally here.

The Madhesi parties are miffed with the newly-installed government of Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ that was initially seen as comparatively sympathetic to their demands.

But a month has gone since the formation of the new government and it is perceived as having done little to address the demands and grievances of the Madhesis, leaving them furious and agitated.

Prachanda, who came to power last month, however, said in an address on the occasion that his government was serious towards addressing through suitable amendments the grievances of the Madhesis and the Tharu and ethnic communities regarding the Constitution.

“My government is seriously working to make the Constitution acceptable to all and expediting its enforcement by addressing the grievances of the people, unhappy with some of its provisions, through fresh amendment(s).

“No country in the world has so far achieved a complete Constitution in the maiden attempt as the Constitution is a dynamic and living document and gets completion through timely revisions as per the needs of the people,” said Prachanda, who has cancelled his scheduled visit to the United Nations in order to address the concerns of the Madhesis and Janjatis over the Constitution.

The Constitution has established Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republic, guaranteed people’s fundamental rights, periodic elections, press freedom, independent judiciary and the basis for a rule of law while paving the way for the achievement of social justice, durable peace, good governance, development and progress.

After it was adopted through popular vote by the Constituent Assembly last September, the political groupings from the country’s southern plains opposed the move and launched nationwide protests, which left at least 59 persons, including several security personnel, dead.

Prachanda said the government had already formed a high-level commission to probe the incidents of violence that took place during the Terai-Madhes movement, had already announced the names of those killed in the movement and a process was on to provide compensation to the victims’ families and medical treatment cost to the injured. Likewise, the process of withdrawal of political cases relating to the agitation was afoot.

–IANS

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