India calls envoy to New Delhi as violence against Nepal Constitution strains ties
Kathmandu, Sept 21: Police in Nepal said they shot and injured at least three protesters on Monday, a day after the Himalayan tion adopted its first democratic constitution, the violence dashing hopes that the historic event would put a stop to weeks of clashes.
The demonstrators were in critical condition after police opened fire at an anti-constitution protest in the city of Biratgar, said Pramod Kharel, a deputy police superintendent in the Morang district of southern Nepal.
"The confrontation between police and anti-constitution protesters is ongoing," he added.
Meanwhile, Nepal's top political leaders on Monday vowed to maintain good relations with India, a day after New Delhi voiced concern over unrest in areas bordering India after the promulgation of the new constitution in the Himalayan tion.
Three major political parties - the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist - held a joint rally in Kathmandu on Monday where they vowed to addressed the demands of agitating Madhes-based parties and the Tharu community who have been protesting in the southern plains for over a month over the seven-state model envisaged in the country's new constitution.
Over 40 people have been killed in the protest, and dozens of others injured.
"We want to be good friends with India," Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' said in his address to the joint rally. He said Nepal's immediate neighbours India and Chi should welcome this historic moment of promulgation of the constitution.
"I hope India and Chi will show special respect to this historic achievement," he said.
Referring to India, he said: "We are ready to address the legitimate and genuine concerns of India but it should also pay heed to Nepal's concerns."
"We want to be India's friend, not 'yes man'," said Dahal, who is known for his vitriolic anti-India rhetoric.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala of the Nepali Congress, addressing the rally, said Nepal was willing to move ahead by maintaining harmonious relations with both India and Chi for its dream to be a prosperous and stable tion.
He said the new constitution has fulfilled the expectations of all Nepalis, and the focus will now be on work for economic prosperity and development, as well as post-earthquake reconstruction.
CPN-UML chairman K.P. Sharma Oli, who is being tipped as the next prime minister after Koirala demits office, said Nepal wants to have good relations with its immediate neighbour "within the boundary of dignity".
"I want to tell our neighbours that we want good relations with you, let's work together and let's share the tural resources we have," he said, without referring to India.
India's Foreign Secretary S. Jaishanker, who visited Nepal last week, had urged the Nepali leadership to delay the promulgation of the new constitution for some days to address the concerns of various agitating groups.
India's Ambassador Ranjit Rae on Monday left for New Delhi to meet the top Indian leadership, and to brief them about the latest political situation in Nepal.