Briefing to Diplomatic Community on the current political situation in Nepal by Hon. Mr. Mahendra Bhadur Pandey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Hon. Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Minister for Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Kathmandu, August 27, 2015
- After nearly eightyears of consistent efforts we have entered the final phase of constitution drafting. The Constituent Assembly (CA) has been holdingdiscussionon the final text of the constitution. The Constituent Assembly Members have been participating in the discussionof the content of the draft. The 16-point agreement reached on June 8, 2015 among the four major political parties has greatly facilitated the stalled constitution drafting process.
- The text of the new constitution has been revised on the basis of inputs received duringconsultations with the Nepalese people both at home and abroad. The issue of delineating boundaries and the finalization of number of states within the federal structure have somehow proved difficult. Given the diversity of the Nepalese society, an architecture of a federation solely on the basis of ethnic identity is neither possible nor desirable. However, we are committed to accommodate the legitimate and genuine aspirations of different and diversecommunities. In democracy adjustment and accommodation can always be made if the situation and circumstances so warrant.
- While the CA is engaged in the final preparation for the promulgation of the new constitution, an unfortunate situation occurred on August 24, 2015 in Tikapur of Kailali District in the Far-Western Region of Nepal.Seven police personnel, includinga SSP, and a two-year old boy were killed when an agitating mob led by Tharuhat Sangharsha Samiti(Tharuhat Struggle Committee) attacked on themwith traditional weapons, likeaxes, spears, sickles, spade, sticks etc. One additional police personnel died yesterday while undergoing medical treatment.Even under the life-threatening situation the security personnel exercised restraint and did not open fire for self-defense.
- The Government has no intention to curtail people’s rights to express their views and opinion in a peaceful manner. What happened in Tikapur on Monday is difficult to comprehend, as it was not staged the way peaceful political demonstration/rally is generally staged. The nature of killing (burning alive; use of local weapon to kill mercilessly) has confirmed the infiltration of some elements hostile to law and order and forces opposed to constitution writing and bent on terrorizing people through criminal and violent activities. Under the cover of demonstrators, they have taken the advantage of difficult situation to fulfil their hidden objectives. Violent activities cannot justify genuine political demands. This incident, highly condemnable as it is, will, however, not deter the indomitable spirit of the Nepalese people to move ahead with the promulgation of the new constitution and seize the historic opportunity.
- Security situation in Tikapur and adjoining areas is coming back to normal. The Government has imposed curfew in Tikapur and Dhangadi, the district capital, and has mobilizedadditional security personnel to maintain law and order. Tikapur and four other villages have been declared riot affected areas. All efforts are being made to bring the situation under control and bolster security.
- A five-member enquiry committee to investigate the incidentis being constituted under the convenorship of former National Intelligence Bureau Chief Mr. Devi Ram Sharma. The Committee, which consists of representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs and security agencies, will submit its report within 15 days.
- Economic life in several towns in Terai districts has been affected and industrial and commercial activities have come to a grinding halt in industrial towns like Biratnagar, Birgunj and Bhairahawa due to coercivebundh imposed by some agitating groups. In Nawalparasi, three people, including a security personnel were injured yesterday during the protest launched by agitating groups.Other towns in Rautahat, Saptari and Sarlahi have also been affected by bundh and strikes.
- The major political parties have called for the renunciation of violence and seek peaceful resolution of the problem through dialogue, and have entrusted the Prime Minister to create conducive environment for this. The Government is open to engage in constructive dialogue with a view to finding an amicable solution to the current problem. Last night, the Prime Minister issued afresh appeal for dialogue with agitating parties. Federalism is a new issue for us.Positive attitude and cooperation from all stakeholders are essential to find an acceptable solution to the issue of federal boundaries. The Government remains committedto making all efforts to secure a broadest possible consensus on the delineation of the federal boundaries taking into account the viability as well as the legitimate and genuine aspirations of the Nepalese people.
- The provision of a federal commission gives scope for accommodating genuine concern of the people even after the promulgation of the constitution. Promulgating the constitution through the Constituent Assembly is not the end of the process; it is also the beginning of a new process. Constitution is a dynamic/progressive document. It is open to amendment as the time and circumstances demand. We must have patience and let the process move smoothly towards its logical conclusion.
- We have reached a moment to fulfill the long standing aspirations of the people to have their constitution written by their representatives. Our national determination is to promulgate an inclusive democratic constitution at the earliest opportunity and end the protracted transition which has cost the country a lot in terms of political stability, economic development and social progress. The process cannot be reversed. We expect sincere cooperation from all the political parties and other stakeholders in the country in carrying forward the constitution drafting process to safeguard the vital interest of the country and the Nepali people. This is the time to remain united and thwart all attempts to derail the constitution writing process.
- At this critical juncture, important issue is to protect the sanctity and integrity of this historic democratic process. It cannot be allowed to be overwhelmed by violent and criminal events. Violence, threats and intimidation are threats to peaceful democratic process, and have no place in democracy.
- Nepal is a multicultural, multilingual and multiethnic country. Yet, socio-cultural harmony, religious tolerance and unity in diversity have been the characteristic features of the Nepalese society. We all must ensure that these values and norms of our society are not undermined in any way by any activities that are being carried out under any pretext.
- Peace, security and stability are prerequisites for progress and prosperity. A peaceful, stable and prosperous Nepal will also be in the interest ofourregion and beyond.
- We expect understanding and support from our neighbours and friends in the international community in our efforts towards this end.