KATHMANDU, May 21: Friday is an important day for Muslims from religious point of view. For Nepali Muslims, Sunday too became equally important day from political perspective as they won an important battle for identity.
The government and the agitating National Muslim Struggle Alliance (NMSA) on Sunday signed an 11-point agreement that promised the Muslims will be enlisted in the new constitution to ensure their distinct identity. Until now, the Mulisms who made up 4.2 percent of the total population as per the last census of 2001, were recognized as others.
Talking to Republica, Spokesperson for the alliance Junaid Ansari said they called off all their struggle programs on Sunday following the agreement that promised to address the concerns of Muslim community.
As per the agreement, constitutional Muslim Commission will be formed to address concerns and problems of the Muslim community and the government will form madrasa education board to recognize madrasa education and form permanent Hajj committee immediately to oversee the issues related to the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The government has also agreed to ensure their presence at all levels of state mechanism based on the principles of inclusion and proportional representation and to ensure legal provisions allowing the Muslim community to follow their family law.
Similarly, separate rights of Muslims will be mentioned under the fundamental rights in the new constitution while provincial states in Tarai will be named reflecting Muslim identity.
Likewise, the government has agreed to ensure special rights to Muslims in the new constitution and implement the agreements reached between the government and Muslim community in the past.
According to Ansari, who was present during the talks, the government´s talk team expressed commitment to forward the process to implement the agreement.
“They assured us to forge consensus among major political parties regarding the issues to be incorporated in the new constitution while the government will take necessary measures to address them,” Ansari added.
Zakir Hussein of the NMSA warned of launching stern protests if the government did not implement the agreement as in the past.
“If today´s agreement is not implemented, we will launch stern movement across the country,” Hussein stated.
The Muslim alliance had been protesting since last month accusing the government and major political parties of not listening to their demands.