‘Institutionalise secularism’Several religious groups took out a rally in Kathmandu on Sunday demanding institutionalisation of secularism in the new constitution.
Several religious groups took out a rally in Kathmandu on Sunday demanding institutionalisation of secularism in the new constitution.
Religious communities belonging to Buddhism, Kirat, Islam, Christianity and Bon religions participated in the joint rally which began from Bhrikutimandap and ended near the Constituent Assembly in New Baneshwor. Thousands of people clad in their traditional attires took part in the demonstrations demanding inclusion of secularism as an eternity clause in the new constitution along with certain privileges for minority religions.
The Interim Constitution of 2007 and the preliminary draft of the constitution prepared by the Constituent Assembly both declare Nepal as a secular nation but several factions both within the CA and outside are demanding that Nepal be declared a Hindu nation.
Major parties on Saturday had redefined secularism in the draft constitution with an explanation in the annex that there will be religious and cultural freedom to all citizens and the state will promote ancient religions of the country, particularly Hinduism.
Addressing the gathering, general secretary of Federation of National Christian Nepal CB Gahatraj said that as the 2011 census shows that there are 10 religions practised in the country, secularism is essential to safeguard religious and cultural rights of the followers of these religions. Other religious leaders including Phupu Chhembe Sherpa, Diprendra Rai and Najaril Hussein along with lawmaker and chairman of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Nagendra Kumal addressed the mass demanding a secular country.
RPP-N bats for Hindu nation
Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal organised a parallel demonstration in New Baneshwor on Sunday demanding that Nepal be declared a Hindu nation. Chairman Kamal Thapa along with supporters chanted slogans against the major parties and disapproved the draft constitution which states Nepal as secular.
Police personnel were deployed in the area fearing possible clash between the two groups of people. But both processions remained peaceful till the end.