By: Peregrine Frissell
Photos By: Bikram Rai
The waiting is finally over, but the presentation of the new constitution was fraught with some extreme reactions from many members of the Constituent Assembly (CA).
Though the document was tabled in the CA for the day, some fringe parties felt that wasn’t enough to adequately express their feelings.
Members of the Hindu-Royalist RPP-Nepal, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhavana parties were all disgusted with the draft for its basis on the controversial 16 point agreement that the NC-UML and the opposition UCPN (Maoist)-MJF (Democratic) signed several weeks ago.
Those disgruntled members made their objections known in a demonstrable way Tuesday when they raised the documents above their heads and tore them to pieces, symbolically throwing them away as they marched purposefully out of the CA hall.
The demonstration was powerful, but didn’t include all members of the CA who protested parts of the new constitution. Representatives of RPP-N did not tear the draft into bits, but instead made their discontent vocal through the chanting of slogans.
Many of the dissenters of the draft said that it did not do enough to protect marginalized communities within Nepali Society, such as women, Dalit, Janjatis, and Madhesi.
Women were prominent participants in the demonstrations, speaking out against what they conceived as the conspicuous lack of protections of their rights in the constitution draft. They ripped, chanted, and made clear that they demanded changes too.
The Prime Minister was not amused.
The more petulant members of the CA ripped only their own copies of the constitution. Members of the public can access an electronic PDF. The government is supposed to begin the period where they will hear feedback from the public soon.
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