Kathmandu, Sep 15: After seven years of painstaking efforts and deliberations, Nepal today said it will unveil a new Constitution on September 20 which will be fully democratic and secular, despite ongoing deadly protests by minority groups over the proposed federal structure.
The Constituent Assembly (CA) has already began clause- by-clause voting on the proposed constitution, under preparation since 2008, and as of now 176 articles have already been endorsed by the 601-member strong body.
"A fully democratic Constitution will be promulgated by the Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav at a special function here attended by all the heads of diplomatic missions," he said.
The new Constitution of the Federal, Democratic, Republic Nepal would institutionalise the achievements of the Peoples Movement of 2006, Pandey said. The announcement follows last night's violent protests after the CA overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to revert Nepal as a Hindu state, amid an already volatile situation over federal structure.
India and the US have urged Nepal yesterday to ensure broad-based support and timely promulgation of the new Constitution. They also asked the country's security forces to use restraint in responding to protests.
"The Constitution should have the broadest possible support and the outcome should honour fundamental rights such as gender equality and basic freedoms," the US State Department said in a statement.
Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said: "India is concerned over the ongoing protests and strife in Nepal.
We urge continuing flexibility on the part of all the political forces so that any outstanding issues are addressed through dialogue, in an atmosphere free from violence." Violent protests in Nepal's southern plains led by the Madhesi parties protesting the seven province federal model have claimed nearly 40 lives including 11 police officers.
Nepal was declared a secular state in 2006 after the end of decade-long civil war between Maoist insurgents and the state that claimed nearly 16,000 lives.
A CA was elected in 2008 after the abolishment of the Himalayan country's 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, but it could not finish its task despite four extensions.
Subsequently, a second CA was elected in 2013 which deliberated the draft constitution for over two years. The drafting process was accelerated after the deadly-quake of April 12 that claimed more than 9,000 lives in the country of of 28 million people.