While Kathmandu celebrates, villages in Terai are mourning the innocent civilians killed by Nepal Police. An advocate of Supreme Court in Nepal and an emerging peaceful activist Dip Jha writes,
लासको चाँगमा, बन्दुकको नालमा, निषेधज्ञाको माहोलमा ल्याएको संविधान विजेता समुदायलाई बधाई छ, कमसेकम हामी हरुवाको दाजुभाइ त नमारदेउ
— Adv. Dipendra Jha (@dipjha) September 9, 2015
It is unfortunate that the Nepali media has largely been silent that while CA passes constitution in Kathmandu, Nepal Army has been deployed against Nepali citizen in Terai (southern Nepal) and most of the region is still under curfew. A leading Nepali journalist Prashant Jha who currently writes for an Indian newspaper writes,
In response to the curfew and imposed suffering of families who have been unable to perform funeral rites for their family members who were killed, Dip Jha further writes,
लौ मनाउनुस उल्लास र दिवाली संविधानका लागी, हाम्रा आफन्तजन मलामी लान कर्फयु त हटाइदिनुस,यति सवतन्त्रता तँपाइका नँया संविधानमा पनि होलान नी?
— Adv. Dipendra Jha (@dipjha) September 14, 2015
Thousands of local have defied curfews to attend funerals of those who were killed. Several of the killed were innocent which has infuriated the locals and entire local villages who do not understand or care very little about Nepali politics. A Nepali Raza Manaz, CEO and Co-founder of a local NGO Sano Pailo writes,
Also see our post “Funeral Processions in Janakpur and Jaleshwar Despite Curfews” for more.
None of these media reports include the funeral procession or have attempted to investigate cause of the deaths. It is easy to sit in Kathmandu, insulated from the violence in the southern Nepal and write “X number of protesters were killed today in jhadap with security personnel” or “X number of people died today in violent protests in Y town”. Nepali media has ignored the suffering of Nepali citizens in the South. It is celebrating a constitution that has ignored demands of more than 36% of the population through a brutal suppression by state.
It should not be forgotten that the constitution has not guaranteed fundamental right gender equality either in regards to citizenship based on mother alone. The statement issued by US Department of State regarding Nepal’s constitution drafting process explicitly states,
The constitution should have the broadest possible support and the outcome should honor fundamental rights such as gender equality and basic freedoms.
Several female members of intelligentsia have repeatedly expressed their grievances and are angered that despite revisions, the constitution still does not honor this fundamental right. Manjushree Thapa wrote today,
Nepali Bahun (hill Brahmin) & Chhetri men on Twitter celebrating the constitution, telling the rest of us they’ll continue to fight for us.
— Manjushree Thapa (@manjushreethapa) September 16, 2015
In response to grievances of women, Nepal’s Finance Minister writes,
Contrary to allegation, Nepal’s constitution most inclusive in South Asia n other countries in terms: gender,ethnicity n other marginalized. — Ram Sharan Mahat (@ramsmahat) September 16, 2015
Similarly, many women and Madhesis are expressing their dissatisfcation over the constitution by tweeting with hashtag #NotMyConstitution. See our post for a live Twitter stream of #NotMyConstitution.
At a time when domestic media shares the jubilant mood of ruling parties and marginalized groups are saying, this is #NotMyConstitution, the foreign media is reporting with somewhat a balanced approach. See our post “Domestic Media Celebrates a New Constitution, Foreign Media Warns of Disaster”.
Will a constitution passed without resolving grievances of Madhesis, Tharus, and women who account for more than 68% of the population be acceptable to people of Nepal and the international community?
(The opinions expressed in this article are my own, and does not reflect the official stance of Madhesi Youth.)