KATHMANDU, Sept 14 : Nepal's Constituent Assembly today rejected calls to remove the key term secularism from the new Constitution and revert the Himalayan nation to a Hindu state, triggering protests by Hindu activists.
As the Constituent Assembly resumed voting on individual articles of the Constitution draft, more than two-thirds of the lawmakers rejected the amendment proposal to make Nepal a Hindu state and reaffirmed that it will remain a secular nation.
The proposal was made by Rastirya Prajatantra Party Nepal or National Democratic Party Nepal, a pro-Hindu group, which demanded that secularism be removed from the Constitution in the Article 4 and Hindu state be mentioned instead.
After Assembly Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang announced that the proposal has been rejected, Rastirya Prajatantra Party's Kamal Thapa demanded split voting, the Himalayan Times reported.
Thapa's proposal for a vote received the support of only 21 lawmakers in the 601-seat Constituent Assembly. As the CA Rules requires 61 persons to begin the split voting, the voting was not done.
The erstwhile Hindu state, Nepal was declared a secular state in 2007 after the success of the People's Movement of 2006.
During a public opinion collection held in July, majority of the people preferred the word 'Hindu' or 'religious freedom' instead of using the term 'secularism'. ?PTI