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Is A New Constitution In Making? :: By Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Whether a new constitution would be promulgated on time or not entirely depend on the ruling two-thirds majority government. The leaders of the ruling parties were in direct campaign against ethnic people, and federalism and multi-religion and multi-language going against the aspirations of the people in general and the ethnic people in particular for harmonious living in Nepal. Standing on the two-thirds majority votes, leaders of the ruling political parties believed that they were neo Prithvi Narayan Shahs and could enslave the Nepalese people even in the 21st century. The government took actions against the man speaking out the minds of the Madheshi people, and charged him with being the secessionist and anti-national. The next fight would be between the pro Prithvi Shahs that wanted to dominate the people and the federalists that wanted to live harmoniously with all Nepalis.

Addressing a meeting of the CPN-UML parliamentary party at New Baneshwor in Kathmandu on October 9, 2014, Chairman of CPN-UML KP Sharma Oli said that the ethnicity-based federalism was unimaginable in Nepal. He further said that no changes would be made in the Nepali state, the national flag, national language and nationality for a new constitution (“Ethnicity-based federalism unimaginable: leader Oli”, Gorkhapatraonline.com, October 10, 2014)

Mr Oli sounded exactly like the Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 18th century when Shah said to the ethnic people, “Either you live under my thumb or face my strong sword.” Those who faced his challenge perished fighting against his sharp sword. Others remained enslaved for 240 years. In the 21st century, Mr Oli said almost the same. He had the two-thirds majority that was a sharp weapon. He could cut the federalists with this sword. He said, “Either you face it or follow me. I want the same rule of thumb that Shah had introduced in 240 years ago. You would not have a state of your own. You would not have your own religion to practice and your language to speak. We have the same symbol of our tyrannical rulers that had kept you under their thumbs.”

Thinking he could use the two-thirds majority weapon, Mr Oli emulated Shah of the 18th century. Mr. Oli’s two-thirds majority was on November 19, 2013. Mr Oli should know that Nepalis gave NC and his party together the two-thirds majority not to yoke the people but to craft a new constitution that would be acceptable to all Nepalis for living harmoniously. His colleagues quietly accepting Mr Oli’s stand on keeping the dominant social system intact had wrongly interrupted that Nepalis had given them the mandate to enchain the people with that majority. Some of the leaders of the ruling political parties had been offensive and provocative to the ethnic people, and tending to divisive.

In the past, we had the Chairman of Rastriya Janamorcha Chitra Bahadur KC that had been madly speaking out against the federalism in public. He had been another incarnation of Prithvi Shah in the 21st century. He wanted to do exactly what Prithvi Shah did in the 18th century to enchain everybody by the central rule, and repress everybody in the name of unification. Nobody cared about his speech, and nobody took him seriously. He faded away as the neo Shahs such as Mr Oli, another KC called Arjun Narsingh, and Mr Sushil Koirala quietly emerged as anti-federalists. They wrongly interrupted the two-thirds majority as the mandate given them for working against federalism, federal states, and against the ethnic people in general and the Nepalese people in particular.

Then, we had another chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party – Nepal Kamal Thapa that had been vocal for reviving the tyrannical monarchy and for imposing the Hinduism in the multi-religious society. He did not get the two-thirds majority but he received almost five percent of the votes on November 19, 2014. Some Hindu fanatics not knowing the real situation of the country voted for his party for Hinduism.

After not receiving the amount of money he had wanted from the last freak former king Gyanendra Shah for the elections to the new constituent assembly held on November 19, 2013, Mr Thapa toned down his demand for reinstating the dead monarchy in Nepal. Mr Thapa believed that his survival depended on fighting for the Hinduism and the monarchy. He should know that both the monarchy and Hinduism were defeated in the battle against the centuries old totalitarian rule set up by Prithvi Shah.

Mr Kamal Thapa should know that Nepalis including his ancestors had been the slaves of the Shah-Rana rule for 240 years. Mr Thapa certainly did not want to be the slave of the army and servants of the Shah-Rana rulers reinstating the Hinduism as the only religion and the constitutional monarchy as the rule of law in Nepal. Probably, he did believe that reinstating the dictatorial monarchy for the enslavement of Nepalis in the 21st century was impossible. He simply wanted to take benefits from advocating for both these elements of the past.

Mr Kamal Thapa’s voices had been feeble in the environment of the strong and loud voices of Mr Oli and Messer KCs against the federalism and federal states for invoking the same old dominant system to subjugate the Nepalis. They wanted to continue the neo rule of the holders of the two-thirds majority emulating the Shah-Ranas that had enslaved the Nepalis.

His colleagues and Mr Oli wanted to be the Prithvi Shahs of the 21st century. They wanted to go head-on collision with the federalists, and the Nepalis wanting to live cordially with all. With this intention, they did not want to listen to the federalists. They wanted to rule by the two-thirds majority. They surely would not want to craft a new inclusive constitution. They did not care about the aspirations of the Nepalis in general for a new constitution that would create an environment conducive for all Nepalis to live peacefully.

His colleagues and Mr Oli believed that they did not need a new constitution if they had to give in to the federalists. They had the two-thirds majority weapon to fight against the federalists. The two-thirds majority was in fact a strong weapon but they should know that it was given to craft a new constitution not for cutting off the noses and ears of the federalists. Disregarding this truth, the anti-federalists had put the crafting of a new inclusive constitution on hold, and put Nepal at the risk of splitting into a number of states.

The Nepal army could not be a neo Prithvi Shah, and put all Nepalis united at the gunpoint. Probably, his colleagues and Mr Oli must have counted on the Nepal Army as an additional weapon to fight against the federalists. However, they failed to understand that Tharus, Limbus, Tamangs, Nevahs and you name any ethnic Nepalis would not live in the servitude of the two-thirds majority. They did not want to be slaves in their homeland as their ancestors had been for the past 240 years. They wanted to live humanely in the land of their ancestors.

For example, the Nevahs had lived as the second-class citizens under the alien rule of the Shah-Ranas in their homeland for two-and-a-half centuries. They were punished for writing in their Nevah language, for practicing their religion, and exiled them for demanding to live as humanely. The Nevahs would not tolerate the same kind of rule the leaders with the two-thirds majority wanted to impose on them. They needed a separate state called whatever the name might be but they needed full freedom for working autonomously for their development. They would fight for it to death.

Similarly, other ethnic people such as Limbus, Tamangs, Tharus, Rais, and so on, and Madheshi people wanted to live humanely in their homeland not under the thumb of the two-thirds majority rule. They said that two-thirds majority given was for crafting a new inclusive constitution that would honor voices of all Nepalis, and respect all languages and religions of Nepalis, and that would not accept the rule of a group of leaders. Accept this reality or go head-on collision with the Nepalis people.

Invoking the spirit of the people’s movement, the alliance of the 22 political parties has initiated the protest against the anti-federalists on October 10, 2014. Leaders and cadres of the 22 political parties gathered at Maitighar, and then marched to Nayabaneswore next to the Constituent Assembly building, and held a rally there. Speakers at the rally charged the ruling political parties such as NC and CPN-UML with taking the country back to a unitary system.

Addressing a rally outside the Constituent Assembly (CA) premises at New Baneshwor on Friday, October 10, 2014, leaders of the 22-party opposition alliance called Federal Republic Front (FRF) led by the UCPN-Maoist threatened to scrap the new constitution if it were not ensure identity-based federalism. Leaders of the FRF accused the ruling parties of attempting to bring a unitary system. They warned those parties of not finalizing the thorny issues of the new constitution without consent of the opposition alliance. “The constitution will be torn up on the very day of its promulgation if identity-based federalism is not ensured, and we will give a tough challenge at the same time to the anti-federalist forces,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara General Secretary of UCPN-Maoist speaking at the rally. (“Alliance Threatens To Scrap Statute Not Ensuring Identity”, Myrepublica.com)

The ruling political parties labeled CK Raut as an anti-national for speaking for an independent Madhesh to offset the discrimination inflicted by the hill people on the people of Madhesh. Disregarding the freedom of speech enshrined in the Interim constitution of Nepal of 2007, the police had arrested Raut.

The district attorney Office on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 had filed a charge sheet for treason at the Special Court against Madheshi activist CK Raut arrested on charge of involvement in anti-nationalist activities. He was brought to Kathmandu after the Supreme Court asked authorities to present him before the court following the habeas corpus petition. The SC had however quashed the petition seeking his release. In the charge sheet, the district attorney sought life term or 10 years jail for him following the act on crime against the State. The Morang district Police had picked up Raut at the Rangeli on September 14, 2014. (“Charge Sheet Filed Against CK Raut,” Myrepublica.com)

A meeting of the UCPN-Maoist-led Federal Republican Front (FRF) held in Singha Durbar on Thursday, September 25, 2014 demanded the immediate release of CK Raut. FRF accused the government of orchestrating Raut’s arrest to shift the focus away from the issue of federalism. Talking to the people gathered at an event held at the party offices in the morning, chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda criticized the government for arresting CK Raut only to make him a hero. (“FRF demands CK Raut’s release,” Nepalnews.com)

In the mid seventies of the last century, Ramraja Prasad Singh had said in his manifesto for the elections to a graduate constituency that Nepal should be made a republic. He had to go underground to escape from the tyranny of the then king Mahendra that could not tolerate the word ‘republic’. Later on, the king declared him a terrorist and set a price on his head. After 30 years of the Ramraja’s vision for republic, Nepalis made it a reality in 2008.

In 1942, the Shah-Rana rulers gave death sentences to the four brave Nepalis that had demanded the freedom from the enslavement of Nepalis. In 1951, Nepalis successfully overthrown the apparently mighty Shah-Rana rulers and set up the democracy. However, the Shah kings reinstated their oppressive rule betraying the people’s trust for institutionalizing democracy.

In view of this political background in Nepal, CK Raut might have sown the seed of the Nepalis demanding the freedom from the central rule if not entirely autonomy of their homeland. How long the ruling political parties holding the weapon of the two-thirds majority could hold on to power without giving the rights to the ethnic people including the ‘khas’ (Brahmin and Chhetris), and Madheshis to live as humanly as possible remains to be seen.

Thanks to the impotence of the prime minister, the government has not been able to enforce the agreements reached with other political parties leading to the current political impasse. His colleagues and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had continued to hype their commitment to promulgate a new constitution on January 22, 2015. Disregarding the call of the federalists for federal states agreeable to all parties, the prime minister had already set a stage for fighting between the two-thirds majority rulers and the federalists.

No matter what the different committees of the Constituent Assembly had done so far concerning the crafting of a new constitution everything would go to waste if the ruling NC and CPN-UML leaders were not to accept the federalism with identity. They have the State army, police and even the armed police to fight against the FRF but the State power became impotent when the people rise against the authoritarian rulers. Then, the people would bring the anti-federalists to justice.

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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