Nepal’s proposed Constitution Amendment Bill that seeks to readjust boundaries of two provinces ostensibly to meet the demands of Madhesi and ethnic groups is facing protest from the main Opposition, while the agitating groups called it inadequate and “not acceptable in the present form”.
The proposed amendment Bill mainly re-adjusts the two provinces transferring all the hill districts to Province Four, and giving a Tharu-Madhesi domination to Province Five, also agrees to accord official language status to all the languages spoken in the areas. It, however, declines to give the status of “citizens by birth” to “foreigners married to Nepalis”.
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“If they renounce the citizenship of the country they earlier belonged to, they would be entitled to naturalised citizenship and (would) not (be) eligible for top political and constitutional posts,” the proposed Bill states.
With the Constitutional amendment notice served with the Parliament Secretariat, the main Opposition Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) decided to stall the House terming the amendment a move towards creating a “hill-plain divide”.
The Madhesi group said the proposed amendment does not fully respond to their demands as nine major Tharu-dominated districts continue to remain with the proposed hill provinces in the far east and the far west. “It can not be accepted in the present form,” Madhesi groups said.
Prominent leader of the Madhesi Front, Upendra Yadav demanded that those married to Nepali citizens should be given every right equal to that of a “citizen by birth” implying they should not be barred from holding the post of the Head of the State, or that of the government, or getting to the top of security agencies and Constitutional bodies.
Youth Force, the youth wing of the UML, began demonstrations in western Nepal’s border and Rolpa areas against the new boundaries of the provinces vandalising several public and private vehicles.