Former top leaders of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) have unanimously demanded resignations of NEFIN's current President Nagendra Kumal and General Secretary Pemba Bhote. Kumal and Bhote, nominated as Constituent Assembly (CA) members by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN (UML) respectively, are facing backlash from their own Janajati community for endorsing a constitution that has deprived Indigenous People of their rights.
At a press conference held in Kathmandu on Thursday, NEFIN's former General Secretaries Suresh Ale Magar, Parshu Ram Tamang, Om Gurung and former Presidents Pasang Sherpa and Raj Kumar Lekhi demanded resignations of Kumal and Bhote. Former NEFIN General Secretary Bal Krishna Mabuhang failed to turn up at the conference due to his poor health, but he signed the press statement issued to demand Kumal and Bhote's resignation.
Kumal and Bhote have betrayed their Janajati community by signing on the new constitution that has not given Indigenous Peoples what they rightfully deserve. .They should resign on moral ground.
The press statement reads: Kumal and Bhote have betrayed their Janajati community by signing on the new constitution that has not given Indigenous Peoples what they rightfully deserve. "They should resign on moral ground," said Om Gurung, who is also a noted scholar on indigenous rights and movement. "If they don't, we and all organizations of Indigenous Peoples will force them to."
Former NEFIN president Pasang Sherpa said that the constitution is silent on Indigenous Peoples' preemptive rights and special rights to minority groups. "Top three leaders have formed a syndicate to rule over us," he said. "It seems like they want to rule over us unless they depart from this world, but we will not accept a constitution thrust upon us by them."
Former NEFIN General Secretary Suresh Ale Magar said the way the new constitution has defined is a subject of ridicule in the entire world. He said the new constitution has merely adopted the word 'secularism' but not its essence. "It promotes Hindu religion," he said. "Women, Muslims and Dalits are also not happy, how can we accept a constitution that has appeased only 10 per cent of the country's population."
The way the new constitution has defined is a subject of ridicule in the entire world. He said the new constitution has merely adopted the word 'secularism' but not its essence. "It promotes Hindu religion".
Former NEFIN President Raj Kumar Lekhi said: "The government says the demands raised by Indigenous Peoples and Madhesis are genuine. If that is the case, why is the state reluctant to accept them? The state is arresting indigenous Tharus for the deaths of some policemen in Kailali, but who will be arrested and tried in the court for deaths of so many people in the Tarai?"
Lekhi said the Kailali incident was a result of political strife and it should be resolved in a political manner. He also said the government has not shown seriousness towards solving the problem. "Major parties are just trying to create an impression that they are for talks," he said.