India voices concern over Nepal violence, urges flexibility

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) As Nepal prepares to enact a new constitution, India has voiced concern over the ongoing protests and strife in several parts of the country and urged flexibility by the political parties and a dialogue to arrive at a durable and resilient document.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a statement, said: “Horrific violence has once again shaken Nepal’s soul. Whether the victims are Nepali citizens or government officials, the blood spilt in all the incidents was Nepalese. When Nepal is yet to come out of the tragedy of the earthquake, these developments would hurt any humanitarian country in the world.”

On Monday, Nepal’s lawmakers voted against an amendment in the draft of the new constitution to declare the Himalayan nation a Hindu state, triggering protests in Kathmandu.

Sushma Swaraj said that India urges “continuing flexibility on the part of all the political forces so that any outstanding issues are addressed through dialogue and widest possible agreement, in an atmosphere free from violence. A Constitution, which is fully owned by and accommodates the aspirations of all regions and sections of the Nepalese society, will lay a durable foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Nepal and will become the focal point for Nepal’s bright future”.

“Nepal’s political parties, organizations and intellectuals have always displayed maturity and foresight in times of crises. It is only with their continued leadership and wisdom that Nepal can overcome its current difficulties. A durable and resilient Constitution is necessary to build a modern Nepal. We hope that Nepal’s leaders will leave no stone unturned in their efforts.”

She said India is “committed to further strengthening its close and cordial relations with the government and people of Nepal and will continue to provide all support and assistance, in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Nepal for peace, stability and socio-economic development”.

Southern Nepal has been witnessing violence since the major political parties struck a breakthrough deal on August 15 to divide the country into seven provinces. The protests have resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police, leading to deaths.

The three main political parties Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist have a combined strength of 475 seats in the Constituent Assembly, which is more than the two thirds of the votes (399) required to endorse the new Constitution.

Out of total of 598 valid members of the 601-member Constituent Assembly, only 538 are taking part in the Constitution voting process as 60 members of Madhesi parties are boycotting the sitting.

The Madhesi parties are protesting against the seven province model proposed by the major political parties.

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