Protests in Nepal against Constitution bill for Madhesis

The amendment bill aims to accommodate the demands of the agitating Madhesi and ethnic groups that include citizenship and boundary demarcation issues among others.

By: PTI | Kathmandu | Published:November 30, 2016 9:22 pm

Thousands of people including students in Nepal today protested against the Constitution amendment bill aimed at carving out a new province to meet the demands of agitating Madhesis and other ethnic groups, saying the resource-rich Province Number five should not be split. The protests affected normal life in Butwal area of Rupandehi district where people holding banners and shouting slogans took to the streets to register their discontent over the Constitution amendment bill which was registered at the Legislature-Parliament Secretariat yesterday despite opposition from CPN-UML.

Students from many schools and academic institutions and commoners have brought the vehicular operation to halt across Butwal, protesting the amendment proposal claiming it split Province Number 5, Himalayan Times reported.

The protests affected normal life as no vehicles were plying on the road along the East-West highway and North-South Siddhartha highway while the markets have remained partially closed.

The protesters said that the Province Number 5, which earlier constituted hilly and mountainous districts rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, should not be split.

Meanwhile, the registration of Constitution amendment bill has sparked protests in districts including Palpa, Gulmi, Kapilvastu and Arghakhanchi.

The government had yesterday taken the step a day after the 15-day ultimatum served by the Federal Alliance for implementing the three-point deal expired.

The amendment bill aims to accommodate the demands of the agitating Madhesi and ethnic groups that include citizenship and boundary demarcation issues among others.

Federal Alliance is a grouping of Madhesi parties and ethnic groups that have been launching agitation demanding more rights and representation for the marginalised people.

Re-demarcation of the provincial boundary and citizenship issue are the two major demands put forth by the agitating Madhesi parties.

Madhesis, mostly Indian-origin, launched a six-month-long agitation from September last year to February this year in which more than 50 people were killed. The agitation had also crippled the landlocked country’s economy as supplies from India were blocked.

The government has proposed to include parts of Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke, Dang and Bardiya in another Tarai province that will be known as Province five.