President consults Maoist and Unified Socialist leaders on citizenship, transitional justice billsResponding to the President’s concerns, the leaders said the bill on Citizenship Act is only a temporary remedy and a new act is needed.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari has expressed concerns about the amendment bills on the Citizenship Act and the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act.
While the amendment bill on the Citizenship Act was endorsed by Parliament on August 18 after she returned it for a review on August 14, the bill on transitional justice act was tabled in Parliament on Monday.
During a meeting with Maoist Centre leaders on Wednesday, the President sought their views on the two bills, according to Tika Dhakal, President Bhandari’s Information and Communication expert.
Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal had reached Sheetal Niwas on Wednesday afternoon along with office bearers of the party, including Barshaman Pun, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, and Janardan Sharma.
The Maoist Centre chair said his party shares a similar opinion as the President on the bill on Citizenship, but her suggestions could not be incorporated for lack of national consensus in Parliament, according to a leader present in the meeting.
“We have recorded our opinion on the issue in Parliament. The government is also committed to bringing the bill with a national consensus,” the leader present at the meeting quoted party chair Dahal as saying to Bhandari. “The bill was brought to end the current situation where the children of the parents who were granted citizenship by birth have become stateless. And this bill is in accordance with the provisions in the ordinance presented by KP Oli which you endorsed yourself. It is sad that it has been unnecessarily politicised,” the leader further quoted Dahal as saying.
On Monday, Bhandari had invited leaders of the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML separately and expressed her concerns over the lower house’s endorsement of the bill on the Citizenship Act by ignoring her suggestions.
The President called for speedy resolution of the issues concerning citizenship, saying it has dragged on for too long, according to Dhakal.
According to him, Maoist Centre chair Dahal said the bill is not complete and does not address all the problems, so a new Citizenship Act needs to be drafted after a thorough study.
“President Bhandari also asked leaders whether the bill to amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act would address the concerns of the victims or not,” Dhakal said. “The President said the victims should get justice and the issue should be sorted out with national consensus.”
The President also held a meeting with CPN (Unified Socialist) leaders including party chair Madhav Nepal and General Secretary Beduram Bhusal, among others on Wednesday to discuss the bill on the Citizenship Act. Unified Socialist leaders echoed Maoist Centre leaders, saying the bill is only a temporary remedy and a new Citizenship Act is needed to address all the problems, according to Dhakal.
The meeting of the parliamentary Legislative Management Committee held at Singha Durbar on Wednesday endorsed the bill on the Citizenship Act without change by a majority of the committee.
The bill will be presented in the National Assembly meeting scheduled for Thursday.