By Ram Khatry, Sydney
17 September 2016
India “has once again refused to welcome Nepal’s constitution” – a report by nagariknews journalist Surendra Poudel claimed today.
According to the Kathmandu-based vernacular daily, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dhahal (Prachanda) and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had “one on one” for half an hour prior to a joint media briefing on September 16. During the meeting, Mr Dahal reportedly urged his host, PM Modi, to ”welcome” Nepal’s constitution which he declined, the Nepali-language report said.
Nepal’s constitution was implemented on 20 September 2015. India has repeatedly expressed concern over the republican statute’s failure to accommodate “the aspirations of all sections” of Nepal’s “diverse society”. Various groups, most notably, Madhesi parties based in the plains districts of the landlocked nation, have been engaged in (fierce) protest programmes saying the constitution does not safeguard their rights and privileges as citizens of the South Asian nation.
An outspoken member of the civil society in Kathmandu, who is from the Madhesi community himself, told southasia.com.au that Nepal and Nepalese people should not worry about who says what about their own statute.
“Just because there has been a change of PM does not mean there would be a change in India’s stand. Whatever stand (on Nepal’s constitution) India had last year is still there today – it is a continuation of the same policy. Our constitution is for us, for Nepal. We should be least concerned whether someone welcomes it or not. Rather, our focus should be on implementing the statute in a way that will make it a common constitution acceptable to all of us,” said Dr Rajesh Ahiraj in an electronic conversation today.
India may have refused to welcome the Nepalese constitution because Madhesis, Dalits, indigenous communities and various other underprivileged groups are still protesting against it, Dr Ahiraj who has a PhD in Madhes (the plains districts of Nepal) issues pointed out.
Citing a source close to the Nepal PM, Nagarik further claimed that when the Nepalese prime minister made Mr Modi aware of the efforts he is making to address the demands of disgruntled parties, the latter said, “The step you are taking now is the right one, I am with you.”
Later on, during the press briefing, PM Modi indicated this publicly, “I am confident that under your wise leadership, Nepal will successfully implement the Constitution through inclusive dialogue accommodating the aspirations of all sections of your diverse society.”