Protests start against ‘One Madhes, One Province’ outside CA
Today: With the government all set to address the demands forwarded by the Madhes-based parties through a supplementary amendment bill, various indigenous groups residing in Terai have expressed strong objections to the “One Madhes, One Province” demand. Some 22 organisations including Tharu Welfare Assembly have been staging demonstrations outside the Constituent Assembly (CA) venue at New Baneshwor in the capital on Saturday (today). Earlier today, representatives of about 15 organisations concerning the Tharu community took out a protest rally against the ‘One Madhes, One Province’ demand in the capital. The participants of the rally that was organised by Tharu Welfare Assembly, an umbrella organisation representing the Tharu community, appealed to stop converting Tharuhat land into Madhes immediately. They also requested not to use the term ‘Madhes’ in the interim constitution. They stressed that the entire issues including that of the Madhesis must be decided by the CA.
The indigenous groups of Terai said that the identity of the indigenous groups will disappear if the whole Terai region is declared Madhes. They also expressed concern claiming that attempts were being made to hand over their native land, political and civic rights to the Madhesi community.
Meanwhile, Federal Republican National Front (FRNF), Chure Bhawar Ekata Party and Nepal Loktantrik Samajwadi Dal among others have been carrying out an indefinite general strike in the Terai since Friday expressing objections to the government’s preparations for including the provision of “One Madhes, One Province” in the interim constitution. Various organisations have expressed solidarity with the protests of the indigenous groups of Terai. The government has already decided to table the supplementary amendment bill which calls for including the provisions of autonomous Terai and mass recruitment of Madhesis and other marginalised groups in the interim constitution.
Madhesi parties dissatisfied with supplementary bill
Yesterday/Today: Three constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), who had signed an agreement with the government on February 28, have expressed dissatisfaction over the issues included in the draft of the supplementary amendment bill.
Accusing the major parties of betraying them, the UDMF’s constituents— Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum (MPRF), Terai-Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) and Mahato-led Nepal Sadbhawana Party- (NSP-M) — have decided to continue their struggle in the Constituent Assembly (CA) and the streets. A meeting of the Madhes-based parties held in the capital today has demanded that the agreements forged with the government in the past must be implemented through the CA.
They have also warned the parliamentary session of the CA not to run on Saturday as well.
Emerging from the meeting, MPRF Coordinator Upendra Yadav charged that the decision taken by the government on Friday was a conspiracy to insult the Madhes-based parties. The Madhesi lawmakers will boycott the CA meet until the demands are met, Yadav informed. Only yesterday, the Council of Ministers had endorsed the draft of a supplementary amendment bill prepared by the three ruling parties Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist.
CA postponement saga drags on
Today/Yesterday: The agreement reached yesterday by five of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) to resolve the Madhes issue has been called unsatisfactory by the agitating Madhesi-based parties today who continued with their protests putting off the legislative session of the Constituent Assembly (CA) for the ninth straight day. The CA members who had filled the International Convention Center returned after the parliament secretariat published a postponement notice.
The lawmakers of the agitating Madhesi parties have been obstructing the CA procedures since June 26 to press the government to mention their demand for ‘an autonomous Mahdhes province’ and ‘mass recruitment of Madhesis in the security bodies’ in the interim constitution through a supplementary amendment draft bill.
The government was expected to table a supplementary bill proposing for an amendment to the interim constitution at today’s CA meeting.
After days of hectic parleys, the major parties yesterday reached a common stance to table the agreements reached in the past with various groups including the Madhesis at today’s CA meeting. The government had confirmed that the proposed supplementary draft bill fulfils not only the demands raised by the Madhes-based parties but also other indigenous groups. The cabinet endorsed the supplementary amendment bill to the interim constitution that was approved by the five political parties of the SPA yesterday.
The Madhesi parties with whom the government had signed an agreement on February 28 expressed dissatisfaction over the issues included in the supplementary amendment bill. Stating the ruling parties have tried to betray the Madhesi people, the Madhes-based parties have announced to continue their struggle at the CA and the streets as well. Chairman of Mahato-led Nepal Sadbhawana Party (NSP-M) Rajendra Mahato had already declared that the CA session will not be allowed to resume today as the proposed supplementary draft bill failed to address the Madhesi parties’ demands.
Agreement between parties regarding Madhesi demands was fulfilling: UML
Today: Ruling party CPN-UML Saturday (today) said that the agreement reached between the political parties on Friday regarding the Madhes issues was fulfilling enough. A meeting of the CPN-UML held at party headquarters in Balkhu said that the party will stand in favour of the government on the proposal of the supplementary bill, which was prepared by the three major parties CPN-Maoist, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress to fulfill the demands raised by the Madhes-based parties. UML leader Ishwor Pokharel informed that the meeting stressed on the need of understanding among the parties to resolve the political deadlock. If the Madhesi parties do not agree with the understanding reached among the ruling parties, the solution to the impasse will be sought through the CA, Pokharel added.
Also today, the Nepali Congress (NC) held consultations at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar on the problems concerning disruption of the CA meet. The NC leaders have urged the Madhes-based parties not to obstruct today’s CA session stating their demands have been included in the Article 138 of the Interim Constitution which provides that the to-be-formed High Level State Restructuring Commission will address their demands. The Madhes-based parties have been demanding to use the phrases as “autonomous Terai” and “mass recruitment in the National Army” in the amendment.
SPA decision a betrayal: Madhesi parties
Yesterday: Four Madhesi parties– Madhesi People’s Rights Forum, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhawana Party and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi)–yesterday flayed the SPA decision terming it a betrayal of the people of Madhes. Their meeting held late night on Friday (yesterday) decided not to accept the SPA decision to add a portion in Article 138 of the Constitution giving the task of addressing their demands to the to-be-formed High Level State Restructuring Commission. “It is a blatant violation of the state’s agreement with us and a serious betrayal of Madhes,” said MPRF Chairman Upendra Yadav, after the meeting. Madhesi parties’ leaders issued a press statement at the end of the meeting condemning the SPA decision.
The leaders have alleged that the SPA decision is clearly against the sentiments of Madhesi people and their desire for autonomy. “It has not even respected the spirit of our discussions in the past few days,” said another MPRF leader Bijay Gachchhadar. “The decision has pushed Madhes to further suspicion and uncertainty.” Tarai Madhes Democratic Party leader Hridayesh Tripathi said Madhesi parties have condemned the SPA decision terming it a betrayal of Madhesi people and will meet Saturday morning to decide on the future course of action. Sadbhawana Party leader Rajendra Mahato said the parties will put forth the decision at a strong protest program on Saturday against the “betrayal”.
Major parties intensify internal parleys
TodayMajor political parties have intensified intra-party parleys today (Saturday) following the objections of the Madhes-based parties concerning the supplementary amendment bill to the interim constitution which is to be tabled by the government. Leaders of Nepali Congress (NC) held consultations at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar today to resolve the problems concerning obstructing in conducting the Constituent Assembly (CA) meet.
The NC leaders have urged the Madhes-based parties not to obstruct today’s CA session stating their demands have been included in the Article 138 of the Interim Constitution which provides that the to-be-formed High Level State Restructuring Commission will address their demands. The Madhes-based parties have been claiming for the phrases to be used as “autonomous Terai” and “mass recruitment in the National Army” in the amendment. (source)
5 SPA parties approve supplementary bill draft
Yesterday:Five political parties of the ruling Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) have approved the draft of the supplementary bill through which the interim constitution will be amended, to fulfill the demands raised by the Madhes-based parties. The five parties gave the green signal during a meeting of the SPA held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction in Singhadurbar yesterday (Friday).
However, two fringe constituents of the SPA have disagreed with the draft of the supplementary bill stating sufficient time was not given to discuss the phraseology to be used in the supplementary bill. The draft prepared by the three ruling parties — CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML— through mutual consensus was presented at the SPA meet today. Although the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP) and the People’s Front Nepal have expressed objections to the draft, the other two fringe parties have expressed their approval. According to sources, the draft will now be tabled as a supplementary amendment bill at the Constituent Assembly (CA) as per the agreement reached between the five parties of the ruling SPA.
The big three parties finalised the draft of the supplementary amendment bill after four days of marathon talks. According to UML leader Bhim Rawal, the meeting agreed to finalise the draft including the phrases which will act as the basis for all the agreements forged between the government and the Madhesis, indigenous and marginalised groups in the past. The Madhes-based parties have been disrupting the CA session since last Thursday pressing the government to fulfill their demands.