Madhesis people demonstrating against the newly promulgated constitution last year.(Jitendra Kumar Jha/Republica Files)
RAJBIRAJ, Sept 19: While the government has decided to celebrate this Monday as Constitution Day with much fervor, Madhes-centric political parties, on the other hand, are preparing to observe the day as “black day”.
The then government led by Sushil Koirala had promulgated the constitution of Nepal on September 20 last year amid strong protests from several Madhesi parties. Some demonstrators and security personnel had lost their lives during the six-month Madhes movement.
Madhes protests got more intense after the promulgation of the constitution. Incidents of severe human rights violations were recorded, and the unofficial Indian blockade that followed made lives even more miserable for the Nepali people.
At a time when people are gradually moving on from those days of sufferings, the government's decision to celebrate the day with fanfare have angered many Madhesi groups who say the celebrations will “inflict fresh wounds”. Intellectuals have warned that such celebration may give birth to prolonged conflicts.
“The new constitution that was promulgated last year on September 20 is still highly controversial. And the decision to celebrate something that around half the people condemns is itself shameful,” said senior politician Khusi Lal Mandal, who has been observing the political situation of Nepal since the last five decades.
He argued that the decision to celebrate a day which one community takes as defeat creates environment for further conflicts. “Many families in Madhes relate the event as the day when they lost their family members and relatives. Many children were rendered orphans. Yet, the state has decided to celebrate it,” added Mandal, stressing that leaders should seize the day as an opportunity to make amends in the flaws of the constitution and promote the feeling of harmony and national unity.
Likewise, senior advocate Bishnu Kumar Mandal also mocked the decision to celebrate the Constitution Day. “What are we celebrating the day for? There is no need to celebrate the constitution that the government failed to effectively implement even after a year of its promulgation,” he said.
The decision to celebrate Constitution Day would be a morally wrong one for the people of Madhes, opined civil society leader Than Singh Bhansali.
“Top political leaders say Madhesi and Tharus are also part of the nation. But deciding to celebrate the day when Madhesi and Tharus mourn is highly controversial,” he added.