Trace the history of the so called "Terai rights"movements in Nepal. To what extent the recently promulgated constitution has addressed the issue of Terai Rights and rights of other groups? Examine.
The question of Madhes or Terai rights was first raised by Bedananda Jha in 1960s. The voice became louder in 1980s when Nepal started showing signs of political liberalization. In 2006-07, their movement became bigger and stronger and Madhesh centric parties started demanding an entire Madhesh as one single province. In 2008, United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) came to eight point agreement with Nepal government, keeping in view their ethnic populations to fulfill their demand.
Nepal adopted its first democratic Constitution on September 20, 2015, but demands of Madheshis, who account for 50% of Nepal’s population were not fulfilled. The key issues are here:
- The interim constitution had proposed that various groups of Nepal would have right to participate in state structures on principle of proportional representation. But the adopted constitution has dropped the word proportional. Madhesis want representation in terms of proportion. Madhesi parties want representation in National Assembly to be based on population of the Provinces.
- Most of the key constitutional posts have been reserved for only citizens by descent. This is a problem because a huge number of Madhesis have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization. They cannot hold office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly etc.
- The interim constitution had fixed delineation of the electoral constituencies every 10 years. The newly adopted constitution has fixed it to 20 years. (234 Words)