US asks Nepalese to cooperate in constitution-making process

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Washington, Sep 15: The US has asked Nepalese people to engage through peaceful, non-violent means during the promulgation of the new constitution and has called on the security forces to exercise restraint in responding to protests.

"As the vote in the Constituent Assembly continues, we hope that the document that emerges embraces the creativity, inclusiveness, and flexibility that will build a peaceful and prosperous Nepal," State Department Spokesman John Kirby said yesterday.

Washington

A proposal to revert Nepal as a Hindu state was overwhelmingly rejected yesterday by the Constituent Assembly, which declared that the Hindu-majority nation will remain secular, triggering violent protests amid an already volatile situation over federal structure.

"The constitution should have the broadest possible support and the outcome should honour fundamental rights such as gender equality and basic freedoms," Kirby said in a statement.

"We urge citizens to engage through peaceful, non-violent means, and call on the Nepali security forces to exercise restraint in responding to protests," he said.

The US, he said, is closely following the debate as Nepal approaches the final stages of drafting and promulgating its constitution.

"The United States recognises the utmost importance of this process for the Nepali people and for cementing Nepal’s democratic transition and providing the foundation for economic development," Kirby said.

More than two-thirds of lawmakers in the 601-member Constituent Assembly turned down the proposal by pro-Hindu Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) to amend the Constitution to restore Nepal as a Hindu state. The lawmakers declared that the country should remain secular as the Constituent Assembly resumed voting on articles of the draft Constitution clause by clause.

Nepal was converted into secular state in 2008 through a Parliament declaration, when monarchy was abolished from the country following the success of the People's Movement.

PTI

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