Protests mark feedback collection for Nepal's new constitution
Collection of feedback on Nepal's draft constitution began on Monday with protests by some sections in Kathmandu and the Madhes plains bordering India.
The government has declared a two-day holiday starting Monday so that lawmakers can collect feedback on the draft from the masses in their respective constituencies.
Police had to fire several rounds in the air and also resort to tear gas to disperse an unruly mob at Gaur in Rautahat district where former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal was collecting feedback.
Cadres belonging to Madhesi parties threw chairs, pelted stones, tried to manhandle Nepal and damaged his vehicle. Several persons including some policemen are reported to have sustained injuries.
Most Madhesi parties are opposed to the draft as instead of addressing the contentious issue of demarcation of federal states it transfers the task to a federal commission.
Unidentified persons hurled a petrol bomb at the vehicle of finance minister Ram Saran Mahat while he was on his way to Kharanitar in Nuwakot district to collect feedback. The bomb missed the vehicle and no one was hurt.
In Kathmandu, cadres of Rastriya Prajatantra Party tried to disrupt proceedings at Dasarath Stadium demanding Nepal should be named a Hindu nation and not a secular one as mentioned in the draft.
Dozens of RPP members burnt copies of the draft at the venue where Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh was present. Police had to intervene to bring the situation under control.
Cadres of Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, a breakaway Maoist faction, tore copies of the draft at Kirtipur in Kathmandu.
Many provisions of the draft, which was prepared in haste following a deal among the four major parties, have been opposed by Madhesi parties, those seeking restoration of Hindu nation and activists.
The draft constitution, once adopted by the constituent assembly, will replace the interim constitution of 2007.