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Nepal-India relations in 2015 尼泊爾新憲後的尼印關係

 

英文原標題:Nepal-India relations after 2015 New Constitution

烏塔.派圭爾(Uddhab Pyakurel)博士/加德滿都大學政治社學教授

翻譯:游雅婷、李賜賢

今年九月,印度呼籲尼泊爾「延宕頒布憲法」並抗拒尼泊爾等候多時的新憲,實行「無預警的封鎖尼印邊界」等措施,造成尼印關係緊張南亞觀察特別邀請到在加德滿都大學任教的烏塔.派圭爾(Uddhab Pyakurel)博士,和台灣讀者分享他個人對於馬德西人(註一)的憤怒、印度政府在頒布新憲法後的反應,以及兩個鄰邦間未來「友善」關係的一些理解和看法。本文文末檢附英文原文。

 


 

APTOPIX Nepal Constitution-1

 

一、馬德西人(Madhes)的不滿
在馬德西的年輕人之間,的確充滿著強烈的挫折感和受到歧視的感受。首先是馬德西族的領袖有著脆弱且腐敗的特質,其次則是來自山區和加德滿都菁英多年來對馬德西族人有所偏見。大約從頒布憲法的時間開始,雷金達.馬哈托(Rajendra Mahato)便帶領尼泊爾親善黨(Sadbhawana Party,馬德西人為主的政黨)走向極端的立場。包括關閉了在加德滿都的中央黨部、放棄制憲會議(CA)的成員資格,並加入年輕人的抗議活動。事實上,這是尼泊爾親善黨(Sadbhawana Party)為了自身的生存而經過思考計算後的行動,過去他們總說只以馬德西人為基礎,會降低他們的政黨排名,且只擁有百分之1.41的選票。但親善黨這次的動作已迫使其他以馬德西人為主的政黨去思考,如果他們還想持續保有制憲會議的會員資格,就必須思考和未來生存空間相關的問題。換言之,即使親善黨正式的退出會議,也早已經對其他三大主要馬德西政黨釋放出:「儘管放手去做吧!」的訊息。這就是為什麼加德滿都會認為這是印度在背後支持,使得那些以馬德西人為主體的政黨會更加激烈的反對制憲過程。

這些發生在尼泊爾的暴力抗爭,在頒布新憲法之前,就已經造成至少40人死亡。但這不代表制憲會議會忽視馬德西人的心情,因為他們不像其他一些以毛派認同為基礎的省份所產生具有野心的團體。馬德西人可以如他們所要求的,保有一個以馬德西族人認同為基礎的省份。由於2007年的馬德西族運動後,使得他們取得在尼泊爾聯邦的話語權,有人會說這8個馬德西族的省份和地區是尼泊爾政府給予馬德西人的贈禮。整個尼泊爾如何在眾多抗議民眾之下通過並擁有憲法,且這些抗議民眾超過百分之50的人居住在馬德西族的地區—-是的,沒有人會對如此倉促頒布的憲法感到滿意,而且還有許多模稜兩可的憲法條款沒有解決。抗議群眾當中有許多人聲稱新憲法只是一紙折衷妥協下的文件,依然平靜的參與慶祝活動。在總數601席的制憲會議中當中,有61席杯葛抵制整個制憲過程,一直到最後階段開始,61席當中還有14席抵制到底。假如我們計算選票,那些杯葛抵制整個程序的人,佔上次選舉當中不超過百分之8。

 

二、印度的反應:情感大於理智?
許多人認為印度的反彈,是因為印度總理莫迪認為尼泊爾領導人背叛當初在德里和加德滿都會見時說要帶來「屬於大多數人且接受大多數人的憲法」的承諾而感到不開心。假如真是如此,那只能解釋印度總理莫迪自己的情緒反應,而忽略了政治的複雜性。筆者認為尼泊爾主要政黨的領袖們有其不再拖延宣布新憲法的理由,其背後的邏輯是,來自國內與國際各界對於尼泊爾領袖強烈的不安感,質疑該國第二期制憲會議是否能夠及時提出新憲法。而這些領袖們因為他們過去一再的沒能在期限內完成,所以在面對此項大眾關注的議題時,必須在上述壓力下處理。一旦他們看到了能夠透過正當程序通過憲法的機會,就會視為是頒布新憲法的最佳時機。事實上,主要政黨的領袖都同意延後兩天或延後幾天再頒布,因為這段過程伴隨著排山倒海的壓力,不只是來自印度,還有來自國內許多族群的人民的壓力,所以他們建議延後幾天再頒布憲法,等到憤怒的馬德西族(Madhesi)領袖們都回來了再說。但是,程序進行中一次也沒有馬德西族領袖願意坐下來談。

此外,主要政黨的黨內外都有人提出反對制憲過程的新倡議。所以假如當時真的延宕頒布憲法,主要政黨領袖們勢必得面臨黨內幹部的反對聲浪,最後因此失去通過憲法的基本鐵票。就以2012年5月15日為例,當時主要政黨同意由11個省組成聯邦模式,但是該協議卻導致5月27日那天國會解散,也沒能頒布新法案。事實上,有許多事情經常不是幾個尼泊爾高層領袖所能掌控,尤其制憲會議(CA)中的601席次是由許多利益團體和政治意識形態所組成。不論法案延宕,或是傾向滿足野心團體所有的要求,都將導致制憲會議失敗的歷史不斷重演。印度總理莫迪不該忽視政治的複雜性,也不該認為政治總能在領袖的掌控之下。否則莫迪為何不能避免印度國會宛如季節性一般的關閉會議?

曾有報導指出,印度曾經提供尼泊爾七點關於新憲法的建議,其中之一就是以人口為主去劃分選區。筆者始終懷疑,印度是否忽略了尼泊爾有義務解決地理上的困境以形成混合性的選區(考量地理和人口因素去劃分出較為平均的選區),所以才建議尼泊爾採取只以人口為主的選區劃分。但是,如果印度認為人口不均的選區是一種不洽當的劃分,那為什麼印度仍有類似的作法?如我們所知,印度最大的選區像是位於安德拉省(Andhra Pradesh)的馬爾卡傑里人民院區(Malkajgiri Lok Sabha)有29.53萬名選民,最小的選區像是拉克沙群島(Lakshadweep)只有47,972名選民,達曼和第烏(Daman and Diu)(印度聯邦屬地)則有1.02萬名選民,拉達克(Ladakh)有1.59萬名選民。

 

三、無預警的封鎖
當觀察整件事的發展,會發現旁人很難理解到底印度想要尼泊爾怎麼做。就連印度的「尼泊爾專家」,也都很難在學術場合上說明清楚,因為他們大部分的人也只是寫出印度政府的官方立場而已。一方面,尼泊爾當時正在努力震後重建,如今卻由於印度「無預警的封鎖」邊界,得面臨另一個能源、交通,還有其他民生必需品的斷炊危機。舉目可見數以百計的車輛,載著各式各樣的物資從印度要前往尼泊爾,在印度海關辦公室外的車輛因為印度不給他們入境尼泊爾的許可證而大排長龍。印度政府不斷重申,在邊界阻礙物資進入的是憤怒的馬德西族政黨,不是印度。然而尼泊爾人──特別是那些居住在邊界地區,對當地情形十分清楚的人,對於印度政府的官方說法持保留的態度,他們質疑為什麼不讓來自一些邊境地區的貨車進入尼泊爾,像是卡卡維塔(Kakarvitta)、蘇娜莉(Sunauli)、尼泊爾根傑(Nepalganj),還有馬亨德拉納格爾(Mahendranagar)等地,這些地區根本沒有任何激進團體的跡象。可見這些不必要的拖延和阻礙,是因為印度邊境管理局遵照外交部的指示去做的,印度曾在9月21日表示「我們的貨運公司和運輸業也常抱怨他們在尼泊爾遇到不少刁難。」但是,在封鎖邊界之前,根本沒有任何卡車、油罐車和公車業者抱怨前往尼泊爾受到刁難。相反地,許多油罐車和卡車在加滿油、載滿貨物之後準備過境邊界,很怕等在那邊不能過去,而他們大多是屬於尼泊爾的運輸公司。

與其質疑印度政府對待鄰國的態度,大部分的印度「尼泊爾專家」認為應該關注的是尼泊爾內部日漸增加的反印度情緒。印度忽略了一旦人民對生活感到不安,很顯然的會批評造成這種現象的幕後藏鏡人。印度政府直接和間接的介入尼泊爾內政,不僅在背後支持馬德西政黨的領袖,讓他們即使在憲法頒布之後,仍有辦法持續抗爭,加上中止邊界的交通運輸動線,使得尼泊爾的日常生活陷入困境。這就是為什麼尼泊爾建議印度要不就開放,要不就解除「無預警」的封鎖,然後像1989年那樣由官方正式的封鎖邊境。同時,據說印度政府在2015年10月4日已經指示相關單位必須確保對尼泊爾的進出口運作是暢通無阻的。自10月2日星期五之後,從部分邊境地區運來的石油補給也逐漸穩定。根據尼泊爾國家新聞通訊社引述印度大使藍吉特.雷(Ranjit Rae)的話,表示10月4日之後其他的邊境地區也會改善許多。印度決定取消「無預警封鎖」是一個皆大歡喜的決定,因為若再這樣持續下去,對尼印雙方都沒有好處。但是,人們想看到的是印度要拿出友善鄰邦的態度,這必須直指莫迪政府錯誤的鄰國政策。事實上,印度政府最新的聲明已經被視為是「正式地取消了非正式的邊境封鎖政策」,因為這根本就是個不成熟的外交政策。

總之,這部憲法可以說是一個妥協下的產物,尚有許多明顯的限制。但是,它已經算是符合許多民主原則了,其中有多黨競爭、為確保權力分立而設立的聯邦機制,以及包容性等。在許多方面,這部憲法在南亞地區裡算是較為進步的憲法之一,它確保了所有少數族群的比例代表制,也確保了女性在高等立法機構中擁有33%的代表席次。尼泊爾領導人也必須主動提議讓馬德西族人(Madhesi)回歸並接受新憲法。國內的請願,諸如孫薩里(Sunsari)與莫朗(Morang)鄉村發展委員會,還有包括馬德西(Madhesi)省的請求,都需要獲得滿足,並且應該在做最後決定時,請高級聯邦劃界委員會審視上述請求。至於國會選區劃分的問題,政府表示他們已經準備了一份修正案,如同2007年過渡時期的臨時憲法所提到的,將以人口做為劃分選區的主要依據。如此看來,馬德西族的人民似乎被憲法規定給誤導了,以至於憤怒的馬德西人加入了反新憲法的抗議行列。

以筆者自身與馬德西族年輕人相處的經驗來看,來自拉烏塔哈(Rautahat)、巴拉(Bara)和莎拉西(Sarlahi)地區的馬德西人表示,有許多馬德西人加入抗議活動,主要是因為他們被告知說如果小孩的父親是尼泊爾人,母親是外國人,那該名小孩將無法獲得像樣的公民身份。因為尼泊爾人和印度人彼此之間經常通婚,使他們在文化上和地理位置上都非常接近,所以這個問題對他們來說相當敏感。可以說,主要政黨和政府有去跟馬德西人說明清楚關於憲法規定上的公民身分問題的責任。如果我們去檢視新憲法的內容,可以發現新憲法第11條2b款指出,「任何人的父親或母親是尼泊爾公民,其出生則為尼泊爾公民,」是根據憲法第11.4條,「每一位在尼泊爾的小孩,即便親子關係尚未確定,只要找到該名小孩的母親或父親,在血統上就是尼泊爾的公民。」這件事所導致的錯誤訊息需要盡快解決,而政黨以及社會各界廣泛的參與協助釋疑,是解決此事的唯一之道。

印度身為和尼泊爾擁有1800公里開放性邊界的鄰國,自然有權提出它對安全的關注,並與尼泊爾共同討論,以示尊重小國的主權以及觀感。而且,假如尼泊爾的新憲法有對印度邊界造成任何安全上的威脅,印度更應該開門見山的討論此事,尼泊爾政府也不應該忽視鄰居的感受,但是,如果真如印度媒體和學者所說的,這次尼印衝突的起因只是因為印度總理莫迪覺得心情受傷,那麼印度總理莫迪應該要反思,在他那種不成熟的政策下,會有多快損害他在尼泊爾心中的「英雄」形象。如果他們從這件事學到很好的教訓,並且持續保持2014年8月訪問尼泊爾所展現的印度總理莫迪希望風潮,筆者認為,要挽回近日所造成的傷害,對印度總理莫迪和整個印度來說,都不算太晚。

註一:馬德西人是近代以來移居尼泊爾特萊平原的印度人後裔的統稱,號稱佔尼泊爾3000多萬人口的27%,成為尼國內一支不容忽視的力量。

 


 

Nepal-India relations after 2015 New Constitution

India’s “push to linger the promulgation of constitution” at the last moment, and reluctance to join with Nepalese to celebrate a much-awaited constitution, imposition and lift of “undeclared blockade of Nepal-India border” induce me to share some of my understanding about Madhes agitation, Indian government’s reaction after the promulgation of the new constitution, and future relationship of two ‘friendly’ neighbors .

 

Understanding Madhes Agitation
It is true that there was a strong frustration and feeling of discrimination among Madhesi youths. The first was due to the weak and corrupt nature of Madhesi leadership, and second was too biased attitude of hill and Kathmandu elites for years towards Madhesi people. Around the time of promulgating the Constitution, Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhawana Party took an extreme position. It closed the Party’s headquarters in Kathmandu, quit the membership of Constituent Assembly (CA), and went for movement joining the youth sentiment.  In fact, it was a calculative movement of Sadbhawana Party for its survival as the party which used  to claim as the only Madhes-based party was reduced to being fourth in the rank with only 1.41 percent of popular votes. But that move compelled other Madhes- based parties to think future survival if they continued to be inthe CA. It is said that leaders of other Madhes-based parties had given go-ahead signal to three major party leaders even after they officially left the process. That is why Kathmandu has understood it as India’s backing to make Madhes-based parties more rigid against the constitution making process.

It was unfortunate that the protests and violence which occurred in Nepal before the promulgation of the constitution have left at least 40 dead. But it doesn’t mean that the CA totally ignored the sentiment of Madhes unlike for other aspirant groups that were promised identity-based provinces by the Maoists. The Madhes could secure a province based on identity as demanded by them. Since the credit for establishing federalism discourse in Nepal goes to the Madhes movement of 2007, one could argue that the 8-district Madhes province is a gift of Nepali state to the Madhesi people. There is an argument how at all Nepal could have a constitution amidst the protests by more than 50 percent of its population residing in Madhes. Yes, nobody was fully satisfied with the way constitution was being declared in a hurry, and without addressing various ambiguous constitutional provisions. However, many of them kept quiet and joined celebration stating that it is a compromised document. Those who boycotted the process were 61 members out of total 601, and 14 out of 61 members were there till the final process was started. If we calculate votes, those who boycotted the whole process had not bagged more than 8 percent votes in the last election.

 

Indian Reaction: More Emotional than Realistic?
Many people in Delhi cite that India, especially PM Modi, was unhappy due to the betrayal of Nepalese leadership who, while meeting PM Modi in Delhi and Kathmandu, promised to bring “the broad-based ownership and acceptance of the constitution”. If it is so, it is PM Modi’s emotional reaction ignoring complexities of politics. I think, major party leaders had a reason to announce new constitution without any further delay. The logic behind it was that there was a strong national and international anxiety against Nepali leadership questioning whether the 2nd CA will be able to bring new constitution in place. The leaders were under pressure to address this public concern, because of their failure to meet the deadline and words time and again in the past. Once they saw the possibility to pass the constitution through due process, they considered it a golden opportunity to capitalize it for promulgating a new constitution. In fact, the mainstream leaders agreed to postpone the process for two more days along with mounting pressure not only from India but also from various walks of life inside the country suggesting postponement of constitution declaration event for a few days to bring the agitating Madhesi leaders on board. But the process went ahead once no Madhesi leaders agreed to sit in the dialogue. Also, they could observe a couple of new initiatives within and outside the mainstream parties to club against constitution making process. If it was delayed further, leaders might have faced the revolt of their own cadres, and eventual loss of the required vote to pass the constitution. Take an example of May 15, 2012, when the 11 province federal model was agreed upon by major parties, but the agreement eventually led to the dissolution of the CA on May 27, 2012 without having promulgated. In fact many things will not always be under the control of a few top leaders of Nepal as the 601-member CA has been a combination of many interest groups, and political ideologies. Both-waiting for some more days and siding with only an aspirant group by fulfilling its 100 percent demand would lead to repeat the failed history of the CA. PM Modi should not ignore that politics is not so simple and always under control of leadership. Had it been the case, why could he not avoid the virtual closing of the Monsoon Session of Indian Parliament without any major business being transacted?

 

There were reports which stated that India had offered 7-point recommendations on Nepal’s new constitution, and one of them was about the constituencies based only on population. I still doubt whether India ignores Nepal’s compulsion to manage geographical difficulties to go for mixed (considering geographical disadvantage and strength of population) constituencies and suggest Nepal to go for only population-based delimitation. If India considers it as disparity against one community, why does India still have the similar practice? As we know, India has largest constituencies like Malkajgiri Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh with 29.53 lakh voters, and the smallest constituencies like Lakshadweep with just 47,972 voters, Daman and Diu with 1.02 lakh voters, Ladakh with 1.59 lakh voters.

 

On “undeclared Blockade”
While observing the scenario, it has become very difficult for others to understand the desire the Indian state has in Nepal. “Nepal experts” in India also could not convey a clear message through their academic engagement as most of them were producing their write-ups by narrating India government’s formal positions. On the one hand, Nepal which was trying hard to recover from the devastating earthquake is now facing another crisis of fuel, transportation, and other essential commodities due to “undeclared blockade” of India. It has been witnessed that hundreds of vehicles, carrying different types of goods from India to Nepal, have queued up in a road stretch of miles from Indian Customs Offices where they were not given clearance to enter Nepal. Besides, India time-and-again reiterates that the obstruction of goods and freight on the border was due to the agitating Madhes-based parties, not India.Nepalese especially those who are residing in the bordering areas and observing the situation have a serious reservation about the Indian government’s formal position questioning why trucks carrying different types of goods were not allowed to enter from border points i.e. Kakarvitta, Sunauli, Nepalganj and Mahendranagar where there is no presence of agitating groups.

It is witnessed that the unnecessary delay and stoppage was started by Indian border management authorities following the statement of Ministry of External Affairs, India issued on September 21 stating “Our freight companies and transporters have also voiced complaints about the difficulties they are facing in movement within Nepal”. But no trucks, tankers, and transporters have filed complaint about the difficulties towards Nepal side after crossing the border. Rather, the tankers and trucks which are waiting to cross the border after loading fuel and other goods are afraid to wait there as most of them belong to Nepali transport companies. Instead of questioning Indian government’s attitude towards its friendly neighbor, most of “Nepal experts” in India have been expressing their only concern about the growing anti-India sentiment in Nepal. They ignored to understand that once public life was disturbed, it was obvious for Nepal to criticize the one who is behind the scene. There was direct and indirect involvement of Indian state not only to back Madhesi party leaders to continue with their agitation even after the constitution was promulgated, but also to stop transportations from the border so that day-to-day life of Nepal will be difficult.  That is why Nepalese were suggesting Indian state either to undo its “undeclared” blockade or be open and go for official blockade as it did in 1989. In the meantime, it is said that Indian government on October 4, 2015 has directed its agencies to ensure smooth operation of import and export to Nepal. The supply of petroleum product was already smoothened from some bordering points since Friday (October 2), and it would be easier in other bordering points by October 4” National News Agency of Nepal-RSS quotes Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae as saying. The latest decision of India to lift “unofficial blockade” is a welcomed decision as it would not be good for both the neighbours if it continued for some more days. However, people who want to see India as friendly neighbor have to point out the failure Modi regime’s neighborhood policy. In fact the latest statement of Indian government has to be considered as ‘official lift of an unofficial blockade’; it is nothing except an immature foreign policy.

To conclude, it could be argued that this constitution has many obvious limitations as a compromised document. However, it has been able to subscribe to many democratic principles including multi-party competition, federal set-up to assure decentralization, inclusivity, etc. In many ways, it is one of the progressive constitutions in South Asia as it has assured proportional representation of all the marginalized groups, assured 33 percent representation of women in the apex legislative body. Here, it is the responsibility of Nepali leadership to take initiative to bring Madhesi people on board to welcome and accept the new constitution.  Demands such that some of the Village Development Committees of Sunsari and Morang should be included in the Madhes province need to be accommodated, and proposed High Level Federal Delimitation Commission will have to look at it while taking a final decision. As far as the issue of delimitation of parliamentary constituencies is concerned, the government stated that it has already prepared an amendment proposal to make the population the major basis for delineating the election constituencies as mentioned in the Interim Constitution 2007. It seems that Madhesi commoners are misinformed about the constitutional provision to provoke them so that they could join the protest against new constitution.

My own interaction with some of the Madhesi youths from Rautahat, Bara, and Sarlahi revealed that many Madhesis joined the protest once they were informed saying that a child born to Nepali father and foreign mother will not be able to have a citizenship by decent. Since one witness quite often marriage among Nepalese and Indians they are very close culturally and geographically, this issue seems to be the touchy one for them. Here, it is the responsibility of the mainstream parties and the government to reach to them and clarify about the constitutional provisions about citizenship by decent. If we follow the new constitution, Article 11 (2b) states that “any person whose father or mother was citizen of Nepal at the birth of such person”, whereas according to Article 11.4 “very child found in Nepal whereabouts of whose paternity and maternity is not known shall, until the mother or father is traced, be deemed a citizen of Nepal by descent”. This issue of ill information needs to be addressed as soon as possible, and extensive engagement of state and political parties with the community seems to be only the way out for it.

India, being an immediate neighbor with some 1800 KM open border, has every right to put forward its genuine security concerns and discuss with Nepal respecting sovereignty, psychology and sentiments of a small country. It has to be straight forward if Nepal’s new constitution posed any security threat to it. In that case, Nepali state should not ignore to be engaged with a friendly neighbour’s concern. But if it is only the hurt of PM Modi’s emotion as Indian media and scholars are referring to, PM Modi should introspect how quickly he could damage his “heroic” image in Nepal along with this immature policy. It is not too late for PM Modi and India to regain the recent damage if they take it as a good lesson learned, and continued engaging with the hopes PM Modi generated during his visit to Nepal in August 2014.

 

(Pyakurel, a PhD. from JNU, teaches Political Sociology at Kathmandu University)

 


 

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