Gov­ern­ment pro­poses con­sti­tu­tion amend­ment to meet eth­nic de­mands

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

Peo­ple wave Cuban na­tional flags as they watch the mo­tor­cade trans­port­ing the re­mains of Cuban leader Fidel Cas­tro drive past, along the Male­con sea­side boule­vard, in Ha­vana, Cuba, yes­ter­day. Cas­tro’s ashes be­gan a four-day jour­ney across Cuba from Ha­vana to their fi­nal rest­ing place in the eastern city of San­ti­ago. KATH­MANDU (AP): NEPAL’S GOV­ERN­MENT pro­posed amend­ing its new con­sti­tu­tion to carve out a new state to meet the de­mands of an eth­nic group whose protests for big­ger fed­eral state last year left more than 50 peo­ple dead.

The gov­ern­ment reg­is­tered the bill in par­lia­ment late Tues­day that pro­poses a sec­ond state in south­ern Nepal where there is large pres­ence of Mad­hesi eth­nic com­mu­nity.

Hridesh Tri­pati of the Terai Mad­hes Demo­cratic Party said yes­ter­day it was wel­come progress, but still in­ad­e­quate.

“It is one step for­ward and a good progress, but it is still not enough. This new pro­posal does not cover the dis­tricts we have been de­mand­ing to be in­cluded in Mad­hesi State,” Tri­pati said, adding that an al­liance of Mad­hesi par­ties would meet to de­cide if it was go­ing to ac­cept and sup­port the gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive.

The Mad­hesi eth­nic groups 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 that lasted for months last year left more than 50 peo­ple killed and paral­ysed south­ern Nepal. Bor­der points with In­dia were blocked, caus­ing se­vere short­ages of fuel, medicine and other sup­plies in Nepal.

NEW GOV­ERN­MENT

A new gov­ern­ment that took over power in Au­gust promised the Mad­hesi groups that they would look into their de­mands, and Prime Min­is­ter Pushpa Ka­mal Da­hal also got their sup­port in a par­lia­ment vote for his po­si­tion.

The Mad­hesi com­mu­nity said it has al­ways been dis­crim­i­nated against and do not get equal op­por­tu­ni­ties in gov­ern­ment, em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and other rights.

Po­lice re­ported small protests Wed­nes­day in south-west Nepal op­pos­ing the gov­ern­ment plans, but there were no re­ports of vi­o­lence.

The pro­posal will be de­bated in par­lia­ment next week. The gov­ern­ment needs the sup­port of two-thirds of par­lia­ment to ap­prove the change.

PHOTO BY AP

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