Nepal to amend Constitution to address demands of Madhesis

  • PTI, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2015 19:11 IST
A protester burns a tyre on the highway connecting Nepal to India during a general strike called by the Madhesi protesters. Nepal’s government has decided to amend its new Constitution to address the demands of the Madhesi community, who constitute 52% of the country’s total population. (REUTERS Photo)

The Nepal government has decided to amend its constitution to address two key demands of the agitating Medhesi community — proportional representation and constituency delimitation.

The decision, which is likely to be welcomed by India, was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting at Singha Durbar on Sunday night. The attending cabinet members also agreed to set up a political mechanism to recommend solutions to disputes over the proposed provincial boundaries within three months of its formation.

The meeting decided to move forward with the bill to amend the new constitution which has already been tabled in the Nepal parliament.

“The bill has ensured proportional inclusive participation in various state organs as demanded by the agitating parties and has also proposed delimitation of the electoral constituencies based on population,” minister for industry Som Prasad Pandey told the media after the meeting.

The meeting also urged the agitating parties to call off their protests, saying that their demands can be addressed through dialogue.

“Besides these issues, the demands related to citizenship and other issues can also be settled through negotiations. So, we urge them to withdraw the protests immediately,” Pandey said.

Madhes-based parties have been protesting for over four months against the seven-province model proposed in Nepal’s constitution. In protest, they have blockaded Nepal’s border at crucial trade points with India, causing a shortage of essential goods and medicines in the landlocked country. At least 50 people have been killed in the protests.

India has called Kathmandu to address the political problems facing Nepal, urging its neighbour to seek a broad-based acceptance of the constitution adopted on September 20.

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