Interaction with a Nepalese Civil Society Delegation
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Leading a six-member Nepalese Civil society delegation, Mr. Daman Nath Dhungana, a legal luminary in Nepal and former Speaker of the House of Representative, visited the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 27 January 2016 for an interaction, focusing on the ongoing Madhesi uprising in Nepal. Mr Padma Ratna Tuladhar, Mr Vijay K Karna, Mr Tula Narayan Shah, Mr Dipendra Jha, and Mr Krishna Chaudhary were other members of the delegation. A representative body of experts from diverse backgrounds - academic, legal, NGOs, minority representatives, among others, the delegation briefed members of the VIF faculty about the broader dimension of the uprising in Nepal which is being carried on by the Madhesi (an indigenous group, predominantly Hindus with some Muslims, Buddhists and Christians, who are settled in the Terrai region of Nepal) against what they see as an attempt by the government to systemically destroy their identity and bring them to the margins of national life.

According to 2011 census, the Madeshi constitute over 50 percent of the population, yet their presence is limited to around 20 odd districts out of a total count of 75 districts in Nepal. While the Madhesi feel their identity is at serious risks due to unchecked and often government sponsored
migration taking place from south to north, the promulgation of a new constitution – their last straw – left them totally disillusioned as it sought to further curtail their political and economic rights, reducing them to the status of second class citizens in their own country. The Madeshi fear they will have far less representation in the national assembly as the new constitution enshrines equal representation to all districts regardless of the population factor. Mr. Dhungna, leader of the Nepalese delegation, stressed that while taking up the constitution making process as a technical task was a political error, leaving the larger Madeshi population out of the entire process was equally erroneous. The interaction delved deeper into the technical issues with an eye on finding a way out the current political impasses.

Mr. CD Sahay, former Secretary R&AW and presently a Distinguished Fellow at the VIF, who led the VIF panel of experts, stressed that Nepal’s present political deadlock can be resolved only through political dialogues, a lesson learned from the decades’ long Maoist conflict in Nepal that came to an end through political negotiations in November 2006. The panel which was set up by the VIF to engage the Nepalese delegation included Brig (retd) Vinod Anand, Mr. Sushant Sareen, and Mr. RNP Singh, among others.

Event Date 
January 27, 2016
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