Open letter to Sarita Giri

Published On: May 25, 2020 02:00 PM NPT By: Jivesh Jha

You seem to think Nepal’s sovereignty is subject to approval or disapproval by neighbouring countries. What a pity!


Dear Sarita Giri, recently you said that Nepal should have consulted India before publishing the new map showing Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani of Nepal. You seem to think Nepal’s sovereignty—internally (at domestic level) and externally (at international stages)—is subject to approval or disapproval by neighbouring countries. What a pity!

Nepal is a sovereign state. Like previous constitutions, the current constitution has strongly reinforced this. Constitution is the supreme document of federation of Nepal. The preamble clarifies that the constitution would be the supreme legal document and all the national as well as international powers of the state would be exercised within the frameworks of the constitution. The preamble of the constitution affirms the sovereignty of “We the people,” who are committed “to fulfil the aspirations for perpetual peace, good governance, development and prosperity through the medium of democratic republican system of governance.” The concluding part seeks to unite the citizens in an enduring sense of duty to uphold the constitutional norms.

Your statement is thus unconstitutional and insulting to the nation.

Constitution has affirmed that Nepal “is an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive democratic, socialism-oriented federal democratic republican state.” Our constitution has 35 Parts, nine Schedules and as many as 308 Articles. Sovereignty is assured in every one of them. Nowhere does it mention Nepal should seek permission from any country before or after adopting any law.    

Many in Madhesh may defend you by saying that you exercised freedom of speech and expression in the parliament. But the truth is lawmakers should also shape their views within the folds of constitutional norms. Questioning the sovereignty of the nation cannot be justified in the name of freedom of speech.

The Madhesi people, who were marginalized for millennia in their own homeland, went for Madhes uprisings in an effort to seek proportional representation in the state apparatuses. They joined the movements to seek fundamental rights from the state. The main demand of Madhesh uprising was to seek inclusion of Madhesi community in all state structures.

It is unfortunate to hear such a mean statement from a leader, who has held ministerial portfolio in the name of representing the Madhesi people.

We, the people of Madhesh, want respectable space in the state mechanism by virtue of becoming Nepali citizens. Of course, we as an immediate neighbour need to considerate over the genuine concerns of India. But political leaders like you need not be representing India in Nepal parliament. I regret to say that your statement has hurt the sentiments of Madhesis. The trust Madhesi people put on you so far has eroded and diminished greatly. It is equally likely to destroy social fabrics existing in the country from time immemorial. You should not forget a fact that you had received less than 100 votes in the previous elections.  

Let's think for a while, how will you feel if people now welcome you with the cards written with: “Mrs Giri is an Indian agent, serves the vested interest of India and capitalizes her politics by compromising with the national integrity.” Why should Madhesi people support you and your political visions now? 

What hurts many Madhesis is your use of Hindi language in the parliament. If you cannot speak Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadhi and Bajjika, you could have better chosen Nepali or English, which you speak better.

You have always remained mum about the issues of border encroachment by India. You never raised the concerns and grievances of Madhesis people living across the bordering region with India. Why do the concerns of Madheshis (jobs, equal opportunities, development etc) not become your concern? What had you done for Madhesh when you were in power?

Our focus should be on ending differences along the lines of caste, community or ethnicity. Hundreds of thousands of Madheshi youths are about to lose their jobs due to unprecedented Coronavirus lockdown and they are all set to return from Gulf countries and others. The government projects in Madhesh are eclipsed under corruption. Youths are toiling in search of job. The Dalit communities, including Mushar, are facing poverty-like situations in the face of COVID-19 lockdown. The daily wagers, migrant labourers and underprivileged community members are struggling for food amid COVID-19 outbreak. The poor and needy citizens have not got adequate relief materials from your own government in Province-2. These issues never come under your priority. Why so Mrs Giri? The grief and pain of Madheshis never touch you. Why?

We Madheshis want a discrimination-free Nepal. We want all rights at par with the fellow citizens in the hills. But we also strongly stand for the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal.

The author is a former lecturer of Kathmandu University School of Law and writes on the issues of Law and Madhesh

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