At least 12 people, including senior Nepalese lawmakers, were injured today when opposition Maoist leaders created a ruckus in the Parliament by throwing chairs and attacking legislators over contentious issues of Constitution drafting.
Ahead of the January 22 deadline for drafting the constitution, tension ran high in the Constituent Assembly after the United Communist Party of Nepal(Maoist)-led bloc rampaged the Assembly following the move of Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang to allow a proposal for the formation of the Questionnaire Committee to work out the disputed issues of the new constitution before they are put to a vote.
The bloc, which had not given the names of its representatives in the Business Advisory Committee for the Questionnaire Committee, is against forming such panel arguing that the move may signal the end of the Constituent Assembly itself.
"Formation of the questionnaire panel will split the CA, paving the way for its demise," said Baburam Bhattarai, chairman of the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (PDCC), before Nembang initiated the process for new committee formation.
The Opposition Party members broke chairs and injured marshals deployed in the CA hall. One dozen security officials were injured in a scuffle when CA members attempted to break the cordon and reach for the CA chair's seat.
According to Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel, Communist Party of Nepal's Chief KP Sharma Oli and Vice-chairperson Bidhya Bhandari sustained minor injuries.
Before asking Nepali Congress Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha to table the proposal for the Questionnaire Committee, CA Chairman Nembang said that since the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee has failed to either come up with consensus or to form the questionnaire as directed, the Assembly was undertaking the task as per the Rules of Procedure.
"This is a condemnable act. It cannot be excused," Nembang said after the meeting was disrupted.
Nepal has been trying to draft a constitution since electing its Constituent Assembly in 2008. The second assembly was elected in 2013 but disagreements among the political parties continue to hamper the drafting procedure.