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CNDN-SANSAD Nepal Forum : Report and Resolutions

An open Forum on “Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities” was held on Sunday, June 29, 2008 at CafĂ© Kathmandu (2779 Commercial Drive) in Vancouver, BC.

The forum was organized by Canadian Network for Democratic Nepal (CNDN) and South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD).

The panelists on the forum were Dr. Ramjee Parajulee, Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University, Mr. Derrick O’Keefe, Co-Chiar,, and Dr. Hari Sharma, Professor Emeritus SFU, and president SANSAD.
Ramjee Parajulee, a member of the Nepali diaspora, hailed the formation of the Constituent Assembly, the end of the Monarchy and the departure of the King from the Palace on June 10. He lamented the fact that the political parties that had united in bringing about the Constituent Assembly were now engaged in blaming each other and in political brinkmanship. They were focused on sectarian and not national interest; and were fostering a culture of violence, rooted in the feudal traditions. If the parties could not bring the unity back and form a consensus government, Dr. Parajulee said, a historical opportunity to take Nepal on the path of democracy and economic development could be lost.

Derrick O’Keefe brought the global anti-imperialist perspective to view the developments in Nepal, and the challenges its people face. He cited many examples of how international corporate capital and countries like the USA and Canada, including outfits like the Canadian International Development Agency, interfere in the internal affairs of countries that try to move toward independent economic development and political sovereignty. The gains Nepali people have made so far are important not only for them, but also for the people around the world, and it was important that these gains were not thwarted by the forces of reaction and imperialism.
Hari Sharma viewed the current situation in Nepal in the larger context of communist movements and National Liberation Wars. The abolition of the Monarchy and the electoral victory in the Constituent Assembly could not have occurred had there not been the highly successful ten-year long protracted people’s war and the agrarian revolution in the countryside; a process which also won the support of large sections of the urban population. The last two years, after the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) changed its course, have been tumultuous. The imperialist forces, headed by the USA, and the ruling establishment in India, as well as the Monarchist-cum-Hindutava forces in Nepal, created one barrier after the other for the due process to unfold. Even though the much-delayed elections to the Constituent Assembly have already given a leading edge to the Maoists, every effort is being made to prevent the government to be formed thus preventing the Maoists to be in the leading position. The question of the integration of the Maoist Army with the Nepali Army, and who would become the President of the Republic and thus control the Armed forces, has been a major point of contention. Additionally, the three organizations of the Madhesi people in the Terai region (an area which has heavy penetration of India-based Hindutava forces) have been stirring agitation and disrupting the functioning of the Constituent Assembly. Although the people of Terai region have some legitimate concerns about the future political dispensation, the two demands they are agitating about – autonomous Madhesh province for the entire Terai region, and “group entry” of the Madhesis into Nepal Army – are contrary to the Republican Constitutional framework already adopted, and are clearly aimed to disrupt the process of revolutionary transformation Nepal has been going through. The outcome of the present stalemate is still hanging in air.

The three presentations were followed by a productive discussion; at the end of which the house-full meeting at Cafe Kathmandu adopted the following resolutions:

1. We celebrate the victory and achievement of the Nepali people in abolishing the monarchy and establishing the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

2. We appreciate the many difficulties that besiege the Nepali people as they pass through the transition from monarchic and feudal rule to the life of a modern constitutional democracy and express our sympathy for their suffering.

3. We recognize the most urgent task of the moment to be the formation of a government and urge the political parties to work in the national interest to form this government and establish the rule of law.

4. We are aware of the foreign forces engaged in destabilizing and sabotaging the national work of forming a government and integrating the army and we demand that they keep their hands off Nepal to let the people decide their future.

5. We deplore the fact that the CPN (Maoist) continues to remain tagged as a “terrorist” organization by the US government; and express our hope that the democratic people of Nepal, along with people all over the world, will succeed in their just demand that this “terrorist’ listing be removed.

6. We are aware of the vulnerability of Nepal to the exploitative agenda of international capital, and demand from the Government of Canada, and all other international agencies, that all developmental aid to Nepal is geared toward empowerment of people through participatory principles involving masses at the grassroots level.