“Today Is A Protest Day To Commemorate Sacrifice of Madheshis” Rajendra Mahato

As Nepal government is celebrating Constitution Day with fanfare, leader of Rashtriya Janta Party Rajendra Mahato is terming the day as a Protest Day boycotting official ceremony and commemorating the day as a martyr’s day. Mahato spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT from Dhangadhi. Excerpts:

Sept. 19, 2018, 8:32 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL 12 No.05, September 21, 2018 (Ashoj. 05, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

As government is celebrating the constitution day with fanfare, what is the state of Madhesh?

The situation in Madhesh is so bad that it is waiting for an explosion. Madheshis and Tharus are frustrated and waiting for proper time to rebel. If the government failed to address their concern through amendment and rewriting of the constitution, the situation will go from bad to worse.

How are you celebrating the constitution day?

Our party termed this day a black day because over 60 people got martyrdom and hundreds other got injured three years ago. This constitution has blots of blood of Madheshi, Tharu and other marginalized communities of hill, terai and himal. We are commemorating the day to eulogies martyrs and their sacrifice for the rights of people. We will interact with Martyrs family and light candles to commemorate their sacrifice.

How long will your protest last?

Till the amendment and rewriting of the constitution. Hundreds of our workers are still in prison on false charges and our voices are still oppressed. Even one of our elected members is under police custody on false charges. Many people who were injured during the protest are in treatment and state has yet to pay compensation. However, we are losing patience and there will be a revolt against the current majority at any day.

As a constitution passed by ninety percent members of Constituent Assembly representing all groups, is not it a constitution of people?

This constitution does not have ownership of the people and this no different than the previous constitutions promulgated in Nepal. On a party whip of three major parties, the constitution was passed and promulgated. They suspended all the articles and clauses to make the constitution as they liked. This constitution was promulgated in haste bypassing all the stake holders in the Constituent Assembly. They completely ignored our voices from the very beginning. Three party syndicates martyred sixty Madheshis suppressing their voices.

What do they need to make the constitution acceptable to all?

It needs amendment and rewriting. If we celebrate the constitution day without rewriting and amendment, it will be an insult to martyr s who sacrificed their life for the cause.

Have not you discussed the matter with the government?

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has assured us time and again that he will amend the constitution to address the issues raised by Madheshis, Tharus and Janjatis of hill. However, nothing has moved yet. It is unfortunate.

Since you have participated in the elections and you have a government in province no 2, is not it an indication that you have accepted the constitution?

We can quit the provincial government and parliament any time. If the government does not table constitution amendment bill with broader discussions, there is no sense to continue in the government and parliament. Our participation is not for the recognition of the constitution in the present form. It is just conditional.

Constitutional lawyers and leaders of ruling parties claim that this is the best constitution of the world. If this is the best constitution of the world, what hinders you to accept this?

This is the best constitution of the world to those who are benefited from it. Don’t talk about so called constitutional lawyers. They have also vested interests to defend it. How can they say this is the best constitution of the world? Have you heard in any part of the world where more than 10 articles are passed in a matter of hours. In the name of fast track, they bypassed all the processes and rules of constituent assembly. It was purely a mockery.

What are your demands?

Our demands remain the same. We want to change the current provincial boundaries, provinces with complete autonomy and resources, ensuring the rights of all the people including Madheshis, Janjati and Tharus. We want end of discrimination to particular groups.

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Photo Courtesy: Dinesh Thakulaa/Deshsanchar

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