Nepal’s Contested Constitution Deepens Crisis at Home and With India

Ethnic Madhesi protesters opposed to Nepal's new constitution throw stones and bricks at Nepalese policemen in Birgunj, near the Indian border, Nepal, Nov. 2, 2015 (AP photo by Jiyalal Sah).
Ethnic Madhesi protesters opposed to Nepal's new constitution throw stones and bricks at Nepalese policemen in Birgunj, near the Indian border, Nepal, Nov. 2, 2015 (AP photo by Jiyalal Sah).

Rather than resolve its ongoing political crisis, Nepal’s new constitution has produced a polarized internal landscape and complicated relations with its most important neighbor, India. The product of a peace process that brought insurgent Maoist rebels into mainstream politics, the new constitution was promulgated on Sept. 20, institutionalizing a federal, democratic and secular republic. But it failed in its core task of bringing the country’s various ethnicities—there are over 100—and social groups together. Many social groups, especially the Madhesis and Tharus of southern Nepal, are deeply unhappy with its provisions on inclusion, political representation, federalism and citizenship, and have been […]

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