|Kathmandu, May 23
The general secretary of the CPN-UML, Madhav Kumar Nepal, on Monday urged the government to announce dates for elections to a Constituent Assembly after holding consultations with Maoists.
Addressing a public meeting at the Open Air Theatre, Nepal said the government should announce the dates as the House of Representatives (HoR) has already announced its plans to go for the elections. The meeting was organised by the Nepal Dalit Jatiya Mukti Samaj.
Nepal said the elections must be held in such a way that the four million dalits are also given an opportunity to elect their representatives to the constitution-making body.
Socio-economic development of the dalit communities will not get a boost until the law make untouchability a punishable crime, he said, recalling that even the Korean society had a tradition of untouchability 100 years ago, but the practice has now ceased to exist due to the State's intervention.
He further urged the dalit communities to launch campaigns to abolish discriminatory practices prevalent among them.
Nepali Congress general secretary Ram Chandra Poudel said no people will have to suffer simply because they are dalits when the nation ushers in a new era of democracy.
He recalled how the NC cadres had been ostracised by the feudal elements when the party launched campaigns against untouchability during the 1950s. Poudel said the socio-economic condition of the dalits could improve by following the policy of positive discrimination.
He also said that the current HoR must continue until a new one is formed. "This HoR may be dissolved soon after a new constitution is drafted through elections to a constituent assembly," he said.
"The new constitution will be inclusive and it will ensure the rights of the Dalits," he said, demanding that security officials should immediately stop the practice of using low-ranking security personnel as orderlies in their homes.
Chitra Bahadur KC of Janamorcha Nepal said the government would be autocratic and the reactionary forces would raise their ugly heads in the absence of a parliament. As such, the HoR must continue till another arrangement is made, KC said.
NC (Democratic) leader Pradip Giri urged the dalit communities to keep a watch on the government, the parliament, the seven-party alliance and the Maoists until a new constitution is drafted.