Baburam Bhattarai objects to government’s bid to further empower prime minister

  • Naya Shakti Party leader demands release of Resham Chaudhary, saying the 2015 Tikapur incident should be treated as a political movement
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Mar 19, 2019-

Former prime minister and coordinator of Naya Shakti Party-Nepal Baburam Bhattarai has objected to the government’s bid to further empower the prime minister by allowing him the authority to recommend army deployment without holding a meeting of the National Security Council.

The Bill on Work, Responsibility and Rights of National Security Council, registered in Parliament on Wednesday, has included a provision vesting prime minister with the power to recommend army deployment.

Clause 6 (3) of the bill states that irrespective of what is mentioned in the Sub-clause 2, in the event the National Security Council’s meeting is not possible in time of or to avert serious national crisis, the chairman [of the security council] can recommend army deployment. The Sub-clause 2 of the bill has included the provision stated in Article 267 of the constitution that the President will declare army mobilisation as per the Cabinet decision on the council’s recommendation.

“What kind of situation has the government imagined in which the meeting of National Security Council cannot be held? This will put the army in a disarray and undermine democracy. Nowhere in the world have we seen such a practice,” he said  at a press meet organised at his party office in Babarmahal. “The recent bills have been curtail the rights of the National Security Council and authorise the prime minister to sign agreements of larger projects without competition.”

Immediately after becoming the prime minister, KP Sharma Oli had brought major institutions like the Department of Money Laundering, National Investigation Department and Department of Revenue Investigation under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The security council headed by prime minister, according to the constitution, has ministers for defence, home, foreign and finance as well as chief secretary and chief of the Army as members.

Article 267 (6) of the constitution states: “The President shall, on recommendation of the National Security Council and pursuant to a decision of the government of Nepal, Council of Ministers, declare the mobilisation of the Nepal Army in cases where a grave emergency arises in regard to the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Nepal or the security of any part thereof, by war, external aggression, armed rebellion or extreme economic disarray. A declaration of the mobilisation of the Army must be ratified by the House of Representatives within one month after the date of such declaration.”

Bhattarai also objected to Resham Chaudhary’s conviction in the 2015 Tikapur violence and demanded that Chaudhary and the other people associated in the case should be released.

On March 6, the Kailali District Court had sentenced Chaudhary and 10 others to life imprisonment on the charge of perpetrating the violence in which nine people were killed.

Chaudhary would later go on to win the 2017 parliamentary elections in absentia on the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal’s ticket securing around 40,000 votes from Kailali Constituency 1.

“It is completely unjust to treat all other movements as political incidents except the Tikapur one, which has been treated as a criminal incident. The Tikapur movement must be addressed as a political incident and all those convicted including Resham Chaudhary must be released,” Bhattarai said.

Bhattarai’s Naya Shakti Party has said it is unfortunate on the part of the government to punish the protesters who were fighting for national integrity and sovereignty while glorifying those involved in secessionist activities.

“Deaths of a child and security personnel were certainly unfortunate but that was basically Tharu community’s political revolt against the model of provinces. Chaudhary’s election from that constituency has also authenticated the revolt,” Bhattarai said.

Published: 19-03-2019 09:53

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