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Violence in Nepal over new constitution a worry for India

world Updated: Sep 21, 2015 01:09 IST
HT Correspondent

Police stand in front of a burning passenger bus after it was set on fire by unidentified protesters during the nationwide strike, called by the opposition parties against the constitution, in Kathmandu, Nepal.(Reuters Photo)

India greeted the people of Nepal on promulgation of the new constitution, saying it had always supported a democratic and an inclusive charter but was concerned about the violence in the Himalayan nation’s border areas.

New Delhi hoped that the differences would be resolved through dialogue in an “atmosphere free from violence and intimidation”, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said on Sunday.

“We are concerned that the situation in several parts of the country bordering India continues to be violent. Our ambassador in Kathmandu has spoken to the Prime Minister of Nepal in this regard,” the ministry of external affairs said in New Delhi.

Issues on which there were differences should be resolved through dialogue and institutionalised in a manner that would enable broad-based ownership and acceptance.

“This would lay the foundation of harmony, progress and development in Nepal,” the statement said.

Worried over the violence, India had sent foreign secretary S Jaishankar to Nepal on Friday for consultations with the country’s leadership.

“India has always been strongly supporting constitution-making process in Nepal and we would like its completion to be an occasion of joy and satisfaction, not agitation and violence,” Jaishankar said on Saturday, wrapping up his two-day visit.

During his stay, Jaishankar called on Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and also leaders from across the political spectrum.

The constitution, which took seven years in making, divides the country of 28 million into seven states in a secular and federal system but is opposed by some groups who wanted to re-establish Nepal as a Hindu nation, and others who feel it is unfavourable to people in the plains, near India.

Demonstrations in the lowlands, or the Terai area, in recent weeks were met with a tough response from Kathmandu. More than 40 protesters and police have died in the clashes.

Read: Protests over new Nepal constitution vindicate India’s position