General

Marginalised groups demand nomination for 26 CA seats

- Post Report, KATHMANDU

Feb 12, 2014-

With the appointment of Sushil Koirala as prime minister and a coalition government likely to be formed soon, organisations representing marginalised groups have intensified protests seeking nomination for the remaining 26 seats to be appointed at the Cabinet’s discretion. 

Since the formation of the CA, marginalised groups have demanded to be nominated for the seats, citing the necessity of their contribution to the constitution drafting process.

Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Nefin), the umbrella organisation of 56 Janajati communities, National Federation of Disabled-Nepal (NFDN), and Victims of Historic Janaandolan have all staged separate nationwide protests. While Nefin is claiming to represent 39 communities excluded through first-past-the-post (FTPT) and proportional representation voting, NFDN and Janaandolan victims are pressuring the government for at least one nomination.  

Nefin chairman, Nagendra Kumal said that they are lobbying for all 26 seats and are demanding at least 15 seats to secure their representation. “If deprived of the seats, 39 communities will be excluded from the constitution-writing process” said Kumal. “The CA will not be inclusive without accommodating these ethnic groups,” he added.

In the last CA, out of the 26 nominated seats, Janajati’s had secured eleven. Of 59 communities recognised by the government, only Gurung, Tamang, Thakali, Tharu, Darai, Newar, Bhujel, Magar, Majhi, Limbu, Rai, Rajbanshi, Sherpa, Santhal, Sunuwar, Marphali, Dhanuk, Chhantyal, Pahari and Yolmo have secured representation through the electoral process. 

Despite the exclusion of 39 ethnic groups, the new CA consists of a total of 183 Janajati lawmakers. There were 218 lawmakers from Janajati communities in the last CA. 

NFDN and Janaandolan victims are likewise questioning the inclusiveness of the CA itself without their representation. Meghraj Acharya, Chairman of Historic Janaandolan Victim’s Committee, said that the government has undermined the sacrifices of the victims who played a crucial role in liberating the nation from totalitarian rule.“The victims of Janaandolan should get at least one seat in the CA to honour their contribution to the strengthening of democracy,” said Acharya. 

Similarly, NFDN representatives have been staging sit-in protests in the capital for a week. NFDN President Sudarshan Subedi lamented the fact that major parties have not been concerned with their demands.

“We have been intentionally left out. What is the guarantee that this CA will ensure our rights while major parties are refusing to incorporate our voice,” questioned Subedi.

NFDN claims some 15 percent of the country’s population is living with some sort of disability, though government records put the number at around two percent. 

Published: 12-02-2014 08:50

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