Kathmandu, Dec. 5: Tharu leaders have demanded that the Tharu Commission be made into a national autonomous body that can protect the rights of the minority Tharu community.
The Social Justice and Human Rights Committee Sunday held discussions with the Tharu leaders.
The leaders appealed for endorsement of the bill on the Tharu Commission, which is under consideration at the parliament. The parliament had sent the bill back to the committee for further discussions and necessary changes.
During the meeting, the leaders said the constitutional commission was crucial for preserving their constitutional right, culture and language. They suggested the committee add the word ‘national’ in the name of the commission.
Instead of sharing the posts of office bearers on a political basis, the commission must go for an open competition to send skilled members in its working committee, they said.
The Tharu leaders also asked the commission be made an autonomous body, rather than keeping it under any ministry.
During the discussion, the leaders also suggested the organisation and tasks of the commission secretariat, calling for appointments from the Tharu community, with provisions for annual auditing, quarterly public hearings and progress reports.
Addressing the discussion, Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hit Raj Pandey said the articles, 162/63/64, of the new constitution envisioned seven commissions for equal development of all communities.
To make the commission independent and progressive, it was important to hold discussions with the concerned parties and make the necessary changes on the draft bill.
Expressing his dissatisfaction over the provisions of the commissions, Gopal Dahit, a lawmaker, said that the establishment of the commissions was important, but allowing them to work independently was even more important.
“We are not happy about the provisions related to these commissions because they have failed to outline the powers and responsibilities of these bodies. We want independent commissions and identity of the communities,” said Dahit.
Khusi Prasad Tharu, an advocate, suggested specifying the duties, responsibilities and jurisdictions of the commission.
Bedh Prasad Bhattarai, secretary of National Human Rights Commission, asked the lawmakers to make provisions so that only the Tharu people could be appointed as the officials and members of the commission.
During the meeting, Tharu leaders, Ganda Tharu, Ram Dulari, Anjana Chaudhary, Bhuli Prasad Chaudhary and Premi Lal Tharu suggested the committee amend the bill according to their suggestions.
The committee members have also vowed to finalize the bill taking into consideration to their suggestions.