Nepal lawmakers declare country secular, reject proposal for Hindu nation
lawmakers declared that the country should remain secular as the Constituent
Assembly resumed voting on articles of the draft Constitution clause by clause.
A proposal to revert
Nepal as a Hindu state was today overwhelmingly rejected by the Constituent
Assembly which declared that the Hindu-majority nation will remain secular,
triggering violent protests amid an already volatile situation over federal
More than two-thirds of
lawmakers in the 601-member Constituent Assembly turned down the proposal by
pro-Hindu Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) to amend the Constitution
to restore Nepal as a Hindu state.
The lawmakers declared
that the country should remain secular as the Constituent Assembly resumed
voting on articles of the draft Constitution clause by clause.
RPP-N Chairman Kamal
Thapa had registered the amendment proposal demanding to reinstate Nepal as a
Hindu state in Article 4 of the revised bill of the new constitution.
However, the proposal
on restoring Nepal as Hindu state was rejected as it did not secure the
required 10 per cent of votes, according to party sources. Two-thirds majority
votes were required to endorse the proposal.
After Assembly Chairman
Subas Chandra Nembang announced that the proposal has been rejected, Thapa
demanded split voting, but his proposal for a vote received the support of only
21 lawmakers and the voting was not done as the CA Rules require 61 persons to
undertake the process.
Nepal was converted
into secular state in 2008 through a Parliament declaration, when monarchy was
abolished from the country following the success of the People’s Movement.
During a public opinion
collection held in July, majority of the people preferred the word ‘Hindu’ or
‘religious freedom’ instead of using the term ‘secularism’.
rejection of the proposal, RPP-N and some religious organisations staged
demonstration outside the Parliament and demanded Nepal be re-declared a Hindu
Some 2,500 pro-Hindu
activists carrying yellow and saffron flags marched on the street chanting
pro-Hindu slogans and clashed with the police as they were prevented from
coming close to the Parliament building.
The protesters attacked
passing vehicles, including one of the United Nations.
Police resorted to
light baton charging and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Nepal yesterday entered
the final phase of promulgating its new Constitution with the three major
parties going ahead with clause-wise voting on the final draft of the statute
despite a boycott by Madhesi parties and violent protests that have claimed
nearly 40 lives.
The Madhesi parties are
protesting against the seven province model of the federal structure as
proposed by the major political parties.
Southern Nepal has
witnessed turmoil since lawmakers from major political parties struck a
breakthrough deal on August 15 to divide the country into seven provinces.