01/16/2007, 00.00
NEPAL
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Hindu theocracy dies with Maoists in government

by Prakash Dubey
Christian activist tells AsiaNews that the transformation of Nepal into a secular state ends the monarchy by divine right. The new constitution should remove the old one’s flaws and recognise the rights of Nepali Madheshi, who are of Indian origin; otherwise, a new wave of violence is still possible.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s Maoists have made it into the country’s parliament after ten years of bloody guerrilla warfare moved by the idea that “power comes from the barrel of a gun”. Speaking to AsiaNews, an analyst said that their participation in the democratic process “marks the victory of civil society” and hammers “the last nail in the coffin of the religious status of the monarchy”.

According to Norbert Rai, a Christian Nepali, today “the myth that the Nepalese monarchy is a divine dispensation” was shattered. In reality “the Kings have ruled the country for past 240 years simply because of their military hegemony over the country”.

Nepal, he adds, was a “Hindu state for centuries. Maoists' entry in the parliament marks the end of the confessional state. Here many religions and cultures have lived together. Now with a secular state millions of Christians, Muslims and Buddhists are celebrating. It is an historic moment for the nation and the whole population.”

Presently, an interim parliament of 330 members, including 83 Maoists, is in charge till a new constituent assembly is elected in June to write the new constitution.

The current constitution has one major shortcoming. It does not take into account Nepalis of Indian origin, the Madheshi, who represent almost half of the population and have been deliberately ignored. Until now the Pahadi or hill people have wielded power.

“If we do not want a new wave of ethnic violence, the new parliament must act on behalf of all citizens and recognise their rights,” Rai said.

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