Nepal adopts new Constitution amid protests
Nepal today adopted a historic Constitution after seven years of painstaking deliberations marking its transition into a fully secular and democratic republic from a Hindu monarchy, amid violence by minority Madhesi groups over a seven-province federal structure.
"I announce the presented constitution of Nepal, passed by the Constituent Assembly and authenticated by the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, effective from today, 20 September 2015, before the people of Nepal," President Ram Baran Yadav said as he unveiled the statute in Parliament.
"I call for unity and cooperation of all at this historic moment," he said at the special ceremony at the Constituent Assembly (CA) hall in Naya Baneshwor amid sporadic violence reported from southern areas bordering India where the minority Madhesi community is opposed to the idea of dividing the country into seven federal provinces.
National flags soared high and firecrackers went off as thousands of Nepalese thronged the streets to mark the Himalayan nation's transformation into a secular, federal democracy from a Hindu monarchy. They also gathered in front of the Constituent Assembly hall in large numbers. There were processions at different places of Kathmandu to celebrate the occasion, with people decorating streets and lighting candles with excitement of their own Constitution - the first to be drafted by elected representatives - after a 67 year-long democratic struggle.
The President added: "The Constitution is the common document of all of us to protect our freedom, independence, geographic integrity, and sovereignty in people." With this the Interim Constitution has been annulled.
Today's historic moment came amid protests by Madhesi groups over the issue of federating the country. Violence surrounding the federal structure that will divide the country into seven provinces has triggered violence in the Himalayan nation, claiming at least 40 lives including one reported today.
Reports of protests and vandalism poured in from some southern Nepal districts as President Yadav announced the new Constitution. There were both pro-constitution and anti-constitution rallies and sporadic clashes in Biratnagar, Birgunj, Dharan and Sarlahi in southern and eastern Nepal. In Siraha, the Madhesi Front cadres set on fire the house of a Nepali Congress lawmaker.
Madhesis and the Tharu ethnic communities in southern Nepal and some western districts are opposed to the new Constitution as they believe it has failed to address concerns raised by the Madhesis and the Tharu ethnic communities. — PTI
Resolve differences via peaceful dialogue: India
New Delhi: Expressing concern over the violent situation in several parts of Nepal along the Indian border, India on Sunday asked the country to resolve differences through dialogue free from violence which would enable broad-based ownership and acceptance.
New Delhi's concern was conveyed by Ambassador to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, External Affairs Ministry said adding that throughout the process of Constitution making in Nepal, India has supported a federal, democratic, republican and inclusive Constitution.