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Sushil-led Government-69

Issue September 2015

 Modi’s Insistence on Crafting An Inclusive Constitution

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Some media reports said Modi had played a double role in the Nepalese affairs but he had played his role as clear as possible repeatedly saying to the Nepalese leaders to craft an inclusive constitution. Modi probably used his home minister as one role and his advice as another in crafting an inclusive constitution in Nepal. Ethnic, Madheshi, and Nepalese people in general except for a few would not accept the exclusive constitution. So, Mr. Koirala had no choice but to craft an inclusive constitution, then why he wanted to delay in doing so and spill the blood of young people. Why he did not ask his colleagues rather rivals Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba what Modi had told them when they visited India in the last week of July 2015. If they had already told him why did not he make it public? Majority of the Nepalese wanted an inclusive constitution only the leaders with the so-called two-thirds-majority mandate had been against it.


The Indian home minister’s statement that the ten million Nepalese are Indians, and India obliged to protect them might be the answer to the Koirala’s army deployment to repress the people on the streets elsewhere in Nepal demanding nothing but to enforce the previous agreements. Thank him for not stating to protect Hinduism in Nepal. Most of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders had been well-known Hindu fundamentalists. They took pride in Nepal once being a Hindu state. After the alleged infiltrators killed seven policemen and a two-year-old child on August 23, 2015, the government deployed the Nepal army causing the innocent Tharus fled their homes. The Indian home minister’s statement also might be an answer to the stand taken by Mr. Koirala on not making an inclusive constitution, and it probably said, “If you are not crafting an inclusive constitution we will do it through the people’s movement.” This was clearly one role of Prime Minister Modi. It probably warned Mr. Koirala of the consequences of his arrogance and rowdiness.


The Indian home minister made a statement similar to Hitler made in 1940s before invading the then Czechoslovakia. India would surely not invade Nepal but might discipline the Nepalese leaders that did not want to enforce the agreements reached with different ethnic and Madheshi political parties. Not abiding by the majority people’s aspirations for crafting an inclusive constitution, the current leaders in power had lost the popular support and the two-thirds-majority mandate, too. They would probably work under the pressure of the neighbor once they could not stand on their feet not propped up by the people. It was easy to tackle such corrupt leaders. In this way, the Indian home minister’s statement looked like propping up the Nepalese people fighting for their fundamental rights that had been lost for 240 years in the past.


In the middle of the last century, Chancellor of Germany Adolf Hitler won Czechoslovakia, and then the eastern Europe and went on even to Russia causing tremendous misery to the common folks and causing the death of millions of soldiers and innocent Jews for their no faults but Hitler himself had to face the consequences of his evil deeds and even rubbed off some of the consequences of his evil deeds on the innocent Germans. However, the today’s German rulers have apparently not learned the deadly lessons of the past and they have directly interfered in the business of Greece and forced Greece rulers to sell the state-owned assets to the Germans in the name of privatization for improving the Greece’s economy.


Prime Minister Koirala had knowingly or unknowingly signed off one hydropower-project deal after another awarding contracts on construction and running hydropower stations to the Indian state-owned company at the high cost to Nepal disregarding the good advices and suggestions of the hydropower experts. Koirala should know that the greedy eyes of Modi on Nepalese hydropower potentials had been set even before he was sworn in as the prime minister of India. Modi surely believed in illuminating the whole northern Indian states with the hydropower projects in Nepal. Modi and his colleagues assured Nepalese political deadwoods of making Nepal a rich country buying electricity from Nepal. However, they did not say whether Nepal would have to ration the power to its people, as nothing would be left to Nepalese once the hydropower were sold to India. Koirala also did not understand that giving all the natural resources to the big neighbor meant increasing his/her interest in the political affairs of the country. Koirala did not think of even the Hinduism had been the pretext for the BJP leaders to speak directly interfering in the internal businesses of Nepal. Koirala needed to think what the Indian leaders would do if all hydropower resources would go to the hands of the big neighbor.


Nepalese leaders had developed the unwise mindset of they could not remain in power without the support of the Indian rulers. That might be true when they did not have the support of the common folks when they repressed the people. The British East-India Company could take over from the Moguls in India because the Mogul rulers had lost the people’s support. So did the Rana rulers making themselves heavily dependent on the then British rulers in India to keep their third-grade crown on their heads suppressing the common folks tremendously and sucking every drop of the poor people by all possible means. So, once the British wound up their rule in India, the Ranas were easily driven out of the power. Once any leader lost the people’s genuine prop then s/he became vulnerable to the pressure from others particularly the neighboring interest groups.


Nepalese leaders needed to learn from the historical facts that Nepal could remain independent unlike India from the very beginning of its existence because the then rulers had the people’s support. Earning the grassroots-level power base, Nepalese rulers had kept Nepal free from the foreign domination for thousands of years. It is true even today. Nepalese leaders having the people’s support did not need to worry about the foreign support for staying on in power. Also they should learn that they could not run the country suppressing the people. They had to follow the people’s aspirations for ensuring their fundamental rights in a new constitution if these guys were to remain in power. That was what Mr. Koirala disregarded. He was in trouble today.


Recently, some online media reported that some people had been trying to revive the past regime. His or her dream might come true if somebody could revive the Rana regime that fell in 1951. In the 1950s, the losing Ranas had set up a party called ‘khu-kuri-dal’ literally meaning the circle of knives wielders, some of them dreaming to return back to power. Currently, we have the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-Nepal) that had lost the hope of putting back the monarchy but they still believed that they could make Nepal a Hindu state with the unprecedented financial and moral support of the BJP Hindu fanatics. So, such publicity was worthless to consider as the serious ones. Some reporters either paid or pets of the previous regime had been bold enough to write such nonsense taking the advantage of the ongoing people’s movements entirely caused by the firm stand taken by the current stubborn Prime Minister Koirala on not accepting the people’s demands for listening to them. The dreamers should understand it everything happenings had been the creation of Koirala’s misdeeds, nothing else. The current people’s movement had been for achieving their demand for enforcing the previous agreements not for reviving any dead regime. Once this demand was met everything would be normal again. If anybody attempted to revive the dead regime by force then the consequences of such a misadventure would be fatal to him or her.


Some self-styled Nepalese intellectuals called on the president of Nepal through the social media for ‘the imposition of Presidential rule in the country leading to the redefinition of our polity.’ What they wanted not the federalism and the federal republic but the presidential rule to continue the highly authoritarian rule that had prevailed for 240 years. The intellectually bankrupt intellectuals could not think of any dictator could send his or her army to knock their doors at midnight and put them out of their homes, anytime the dictator might like. The so-called intellectuals supported the dictatorship was not surprise, as they believed that they could enjoy the lost authority once a dictatorial regime was set up. Be careful, the dictator might not be the one that once favored them. Again their dream would not come true for sure. The only thing they needed to do was to shed their mindset of being powerful again as in the last century when they had enjoyed it suppressing others. Unfortunately for them, people have been living in the 21st century. Every Nepalese would strive for his or her fundamental rights, and for the rights to make decisions on his or her destiny. Any potential dictator had no chance of coming back to power.


Mr. Koirala could ask his rivals Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba that had visited India in the last week of July 2015 what talks they had had with Prime Minister Modi, and then make their statements public. That would simply erase the misunderstanding in the minds of the common folks. That could end the superficial media rumors about reinstating the previous regime. However, both Koirala and his rivals Prachanda and Deuba had been shy to disclose what talks they had with the Indian prime minister. Prime Minister Modi must have repeated his advice to craft a new inclusive constitution that Mr. Koirala could not digest. That might be the top secret they had been holding on.


Unlike Modi that had been a visionary politician, and that had won the minds of so large number of the common folks, Mr. Koirala had not even an iota of political visionary. Mr. Koirala could easily lead Nepal to the devastating political chaos not taking the immediate political decisions on settling the burning issues of inclusiveness but he deployed the Nepal army adding fuel to the fire. Mr. Koirala believed that the two-thirds-majority mandate he had along with the CPN-UML and other small political parties was the strong weapon that he could use to finish off the concerns of the ethnic, Madheshi, and other underprivileged people such as Tharus, Chepang, women and historically untouchables. So, Mr. Koirala did not pay any attention to resolve political issues through dialogues but he directly sent the army to shot the innocent people staging peaceful demonstrations for ending the marginalization.


Mr. Koirala should understand that suppressing the people’s voice deploying the army would not resolve the problem of not enforcing the agreements reached between the previous government and the political parties, and would not dissipate the protests. Mr. Koirala needed to be sincere and enforce the agreements sincerely giving due attention to the concerns of the historically marginalized people elsewhere in Nepal. Then, the people’s movement would come to an end. If not, common people would support the parallel government of all the ethnic people and the Madheshi people to ultimately force the Koirala government out of office.


Mr. Koirala had been killing the demonstrators every day. As of September 3, 2015, the number of innocent and unarmed people killed by the Koirala’s armed forces had reached 24, according to the media reports. At the press conference held in Kathmandu on September 2, 2015, Chairman of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav accused the government of committing genocide in Madhesh and drew the attention of the international community to file a criminal case against the government at the international criminal court for its alleged atrocities in Madhesh. “Security forces use water cannon in Kathmandu to disperse protesters who defy prohibited zones, but in Madhesh, they fire bullets at protesters when they defy such orders,” he added. Yadav said the protests in Madhesh had effectively ended the two-thirds majority of the ruling parties in the Constituent Assembly, the news on the stated.


Spilling the blood of the innocent people that had demanded nothing else but to enforce the previous agreements would make Koirala pay a huge price. The Koirala administration had been blaming neighbors causing the trouble but once again Koirala had been deadly against understanding the people’s power that came spontaneously. Nepalese had done with the despotic rulers. Then, Nepalese wanted to ensure their share in the State administration, police and army. They had been fighting for that. Koirala needed to take into account of it. Brutal suppression would not work, Mr. Koirala. He should know what would work and what would not. He could not be a 21st century dictator.


Don’t try to make money out of the current Madhesh movement. Koirala had given two billion rupees to the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force ostensibly for buying ammunition and vehicles for suppressing the uprisings in Madhesh but surely for filling up the pocket of Koirala himself. He had projected himself the poorest possible prime minister declaring three mobile as his total historical assets. He did not say why he needed even three mobiles when he had everything at his disposal whenever he needed as a prime minister. The money he was after was for keeping the supporters loyal to him forever, and for paying the cadres for any hazardous work such as enforcing the shutdown of traffic or businesses of the common folks and so on whenever such things would be of a good use as a tool to grab power.


Making money out of the donations received for the quake victims was a heinous sin. Koirala had a finance minister that could without shame share the pie of the donations collected by Koirala with the coalition partners. Even with such misadventure, his finance minister could dare to ask the donors to put some money in the fund the prime minister created ostensibly for the rehabilitation of the quake victims but obviously for the political gains of the people in power, as even after more than two months of the donors committing more than $4 billions the Koirala government had done nothing. The quake victims had been living under the desperate conditions. The recent heavy monsoon rains had caused heavy floods on the Hanumante River inundating the tent dwellers in Bhaktapur. What the Koirala government had done was nothing.


Prime Minister Koirala had been doing everything possible to destabilize his two-thirds-majority strong government. He had already done so by his corrupt practices of amassing huge assets at the cost of common folks: for example, misusing the state two billion rupees giving it to the police for buying vehicles and ammunition, and not distributing the donations collected for the quake victims. He had granted only Rs15,000 to each family for making the tin sheds for temporary dwelling. These two malpractices were visible to everybody but Koirala had probably made numerous such things.


Corrupt rulers did not survive for long without external support. The Rana oligarchy survived for 104 years effectively repressing the people under the swords with the support from the British Raj in India. The Panchayat partially repressing the people could survive for 30 years giving the hope for better days not long in the future. The parliamentary system could not survived even for 10 years because of the widely practiced corruption by the people in power and political leaders at the helm of political parties. Then came the Gyanendra smartly trying to reverse everything as his father did in 1960s but he could live not more than five years again in his father’s palace.


Koirala did not like to take into accounts of these historical events that had happened under his nose. He had been repeating the same mistakes his predecessors had committed before falling from power. He must know the army could not suppress the people even though the army surely could kill the peaceful demonstrators for some time. Every drop of innocent blood would adversely affect the Koirala administration. The more the Koirala administration spilled the blood of the common folks the fast it would fall from power disgracefully. As such, the current consequences of the Madhesh movement had been of his misdeeds in the immediate past.


The Koirala administration should take the note of what the demonstrators had been doing. They had torn down the statues of Girija Prasad Koirala and Man Mohan Adhikari in Madhesh. Both were the former prime ministers. Girija was a multiple term prime minister whereas Adhikari was one term. Girija had led the NC, Adhikari the CPN-UML. In 2006 the demonstrators had removed the statues of the Shah rulers, and placed other statues on their places. So, the oppression of the people had not ceased only the oppressors had been different.


Basically, the unrest in the far western region had been the struggle between the indigenous people called Tharus that wanted a Tharuhut or Tharuwan province, and the supporters of the undivided far-west region: primarily the hill people created by Sher Bahadur Deuba of NC and Bhim Bahadur Rawal of CPN-UML. These two NC and CPN-UML guys did not want their constituencies split up but the indigenous people wanted their share in the provincial administration. They knew that even the provincial rulers of different origins would not hear their voices, as did the past rulers during the 240 years. Tharus wanted to be sovereign citizens rather than the subjects of some rulers.

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Chairman of Madheshi People's Right Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijay Gacchedar announced the formation of another Madheshi front of three political parties that had been with the NC, CPN-UML, and UCPN-Maoist at the Constituent Assembly, as a new alliance fighting for the Madheshi cause. Chairman Gacchedar had been nowhere since the three major parties: NC, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist discounted him in defining federal provinces. After the 16-point agreement reached among the four major political parties including the Gacchedar’s, the Madheshi political parties again in the name of United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF) launched an indefinite protest against the 16-point agreement. The three parties are in alliance with included 1) Madheshi People's Right Forum-Democratic of Gacchedar, 2) Rastriya Madhesh Socialist Party of Sharat Singh Bhandari and Madheshi Peoples Right Forum-Republican of Raj Kishor Yadav, the news on stated on September 2, 2015. Thee three parties together have 18 members in the CA.

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The strength of 58 CA members belonging to the Madheshi and Tharus communities in the NC had threatened to register a separate amendment proposals at the CA defying the NC’s position on a new constitution if the party leadership were to ignore their five-point demand submitted to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, and the party's senior leaders were not to incorporate those five points in the new constitution. Madheshi and Tharu CA members including Bimalendra Nidhi had long been demanding the party leadership to do so, the news on stated on September 2, 2015.

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The protest movement had been intensified even after nineteen days of protest and 24 people dead as of September 2, 2015, the political leaders did not listen to the protestors’ demand rather the government responded with the heavy presence of the security forces, and the local administration shut down the regular lives declaring 24-hour curfews in some areas. The protestors had defied the prohibitory order of the local government in the Rautahat, Parsa and Bara districts that had been declared the riot areas to use the Nepal Army. Hundreds of locals and supporters of Madheshi parties set fire on a police beat set up at Zero Mile of Jaleshwar: district headquarters of Mahottari. Following the death of protestor Hifajat Miya on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, the District Police Office Bara removed nine different police outposts from the rural areas on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, the news on stated.

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Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told the team of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that he could not defend the human rights putting the people in danger. The team had been at the prime minister’s official residence to urge the prime minister for defending the human rights of the people that had been on the streets demanding to ensure their fundamental rights in a new constitution, the news on stated on September 2, 2015. Who were the people, Mr. Koirala? Were the ones that had been put under the heavy presence of the military, and under the twenty-four-hour curfew, the people? Who had the rights to stop the lives of the people totally, Mr. Koirala? Nobody had that rights. So, lift the curfew immediately and let the people live peacefully.


At a press briefing held on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General stated that the UN chief has been following closely the situation in Nepal and has been concerned with the reports on violence in recent weeks and saddened by the loss of lives in the country. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all the stakeholders to refrain from the use of force, denounce violence in all forms and engage in dialogue. The UN office in Nepal has been in regular contact with Nepalese leaders and has urged them to seize this historic opportunity to agree on a dispensation that has the widest popular support, the news on stated on September 3, 2015.


The Nepalese civil society leaders had urged the government to immediately call off the army deployment in the Madhesh areas, and resolve the political issues through dialogues, appealed to the protestors for being absolutely non-violent, appealed to the international community for appealing to the protestors fighting for their fundamental rights and the government for being absolutely non-violent in their respective dealings, and urged the media reporters to stop the distorted media reports on the ongoing street protests, the news on the stated on September 2, 2015. The civil society leaders also stated in their statement that Nepalese people wanted a constitution as soon as possible no doubt about that but it did not mean that they wanted to lose the gains they had made in their movements for their fundamental rights; so, any constitution crafted without the provision made for ensuring the fundamental rights of all Nepalese would be the cause of a perpetual conflict.

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The three Madheshi political parties such as MPRF-D, Rastriya Madhesh Samajbadi Party and Madheshi People’s Rights Forum-Republican having the total strength of 18 seats in the CA had pulled out of the CA constitution-crafting process stating ‘the big three political parties' common proposal on amendment of the revised bill of Nepal's constitution of 2015 would not resolve current crisis,’ and the parties so far contributed well to the constitution-writing process at the CA, not anymore then. Chief Whip of MPRF-D Yogendra Chaudhary stated that his party could not be a mute spectator of the constitution-crafting process that would invite further conflict in the country. He also said that the common proposal of the big three parties for an amendment to a new constitution did not come in line with the aspirations of the Madheshi, indigenous nationalities, Muslim and Tharu community; so, the parties were going to the people, the RSS news on stated on September 5, 2015.

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Three major political parties such as NC, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist registered the common proposal for an amendment to revise the bill of Nepal’s Constitution-2015 at the Constituent Assembly Secretariat on Saturday, September 5, 2015. Chief Whip of NC Chinkaji Shrestha, Chief Whip of CPN-UML Agni Kharel and Chief Whip of UCPN-Maoist Girirajmani Pokhrel jointly reached the CA Secretariat and filed the common proposal for the amendment to the draft constitution. With this, a total number of proposals for amendments registered reached 46, the RSS news on stated on September 5, 2015.

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A Nepalese reporter reporting from New Delhi, India for ‘The Kathmandu Post’ on September 1, 2015, quoted the official in charge of Nepal affairs at South Block in New Delhi but not authorized to speak to the media as saying, “We hope there will be a new constitution by mid-September as per the present understanding. India does not prescribe any form of federalism and religion. India wants to see a constitution resulting from maximum and broader consensus.” The official also said that the Ministry of External Affairs of India was not concerned with NC lawmaker Amresh Kumar Singh that attempted to sneak into the Consular General’s Office of India in Birgunj but he was denied entry when the locals rose up against him a few days ago. These were the clear answers to the Nepalese media reports on the Indian consulate in Birgunj, and another office in Biratnagar had been meddling in the Nepalese affairs, and it also was the clear indication that India wanted an inclusive constitution. However, the three big parties: NC, CPN-UML, and UCPN-Maoist had certainly bullying the dissenting political parties that had been on the streets to protest.


September 5, 2015


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