HETAUDA, Aug 28: Members of Province 3 are sharply divided over the federal government's stance on the Kashmir issue.
Opposition lawmakers mainly representing the Nepali Congress and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party criticized the government for not opposing the recent Indian move on Kashmir whereas the ruling Nepal Communist Party lawmakers defended the federal government for taking a neutral position on the issue.
NC's provincial lawmaker Narottam Baidya accused the ruling party of adopting double standards on the issue saying that the NCP's stance would have been different if it was in the opposition.
“Although our country is small in size we never accepted British colonialism so we are now a sovereign nation,” said Baidya, “When it comes to the Kashmir issue, the government always says it is closely watching the situation. How long it keeps watching the situation?”
Srijana Sanyaju, a lawmaker of NMKP, said Nepal government has turned irresponsible when Kashmir is in crisis. “India is becoming dominant in South Asian politics but the government is inviting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest of the upcoming Constitution Day function,” said Sanyaju adding, “Not speaking against the injustice of Kashmir is accepting expansionism, monopoly and fascism demonstrated by Modi government.”
Rameshwar Phuyal, whip of the ruling NCP, however, defended the federal government saying Nepal should remain neutral in line with our foreign policy based on the longstanding principle of non-alignment.
“We believe in the non-alignment movement. The government is firm on its policy and will act as per need of time,” said Phuyal.
Kashmiri people living in Indian-administered Kashmir are passing through a difficult transition after Prime Minister Modi scrapped Article 370 of the Indian constitution that granted special constitutional rights to Kashmir last month.
Scrapping Article 370 Indian government has suspended all means of communications, foreigners are barred from visiting Kashmir and hundreds of Kashmiri politicians are under house arrest.