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Dalit lawmakers find fault with draft constitution

Kamal Pariyar
KATHMANDU, July 30, Jagaran Media Center,
While the preliminary draft of the new constitution has drawn criticism from various walks of life, lawmakers and members of civil society representing the Dalit community have expressed serious dissatisfaction over provisions in the draft.

They have termed the draft constitution regressive and likened some of its provisions to provisions of the constitution of 2007 and 2047.

Lawmakers from Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and other Madhes-based parties in the Constituent Assembly and civil society members have come up with a unified voice against the provisions but with slim hope of being heard.
Lawmakers representing the Dalit community have demanded that issues already owned by the first CA should be incorporated in the draft to ensure the rights of the Dalit community.

The second CA had owned the provisions related to proportional representation and opportunities for the Dalit community in the civil services, constitutional bodies and security agencies.

“The second CA had owned the provisions related to proportional representation of the Dalit community along with additional 3 per cent representation in central, 5 percent in provincial and 10 percent representation in local bodies,” said Biswo Bhakta Dulal of UCPN (Maoist).

But these provisions are not incorporated in the spirit of Dalit movement, decade long Maoist insurgency and the movement of 2062 /063, among others, he said, adding, the draft constitution shows a huge disrespect to the contribution of Dalits.

Apart from prohibiting racial discrimination and untouchability and ensuring equal rights, the demand of the Dalit community for proportional representation in the executive, judiciary and legislature has not been addressed, said Dalit lawmakers while debating on public feedback.

The new constitution should ensure all rights that were agreed upon in the first CA and owned by the second, said NC lawmaker Jeevan Pariyar.

“It is objectionable and we strongly demand that those provisions should be incorporated in the final draft of the new constitution, said Pariyar.

“What is the purpose of the new constitution that does not guarantee empowerment, representation and participation of the Dalit community in public service and other sectors,” said Rem Biswokarma, a civil society member.

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