Global Peace Association Nepal commemorated Nepali New Year 2069 with a two-kilometer Peace Walk in the capital city of Kathmandu on the theme “Cooperation, Togetherness and Integrity for Peace, Constitution and Prosperity” on the April 13, 2012. The walk sought to build social cohesion prior to the court-ordered ending of the Constituent Assembly session that may fail to approve a new constitution for the Himalayan nation.
Five years ago, the 240-year-old monarchy was abolished in Nepal, power was handed over to the Nepalese people by the King Gyanendra Shah. Following free elections, the restored Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and approved an interim constitution.
An amendment to the constitution has extended the term of the 601-member Constituent Assembly by six months—the fourth such amendment passed by the current assembly. But the Supreme Court has ruled that current session cannot be prolonged beyond May 2012.
Nepal’s 27 million people have high hopes that the new constitution will be approved by May deadline. Yet even with the adoption of a new constitution, many question if there will be a strong political commitment to the peace process.
The peace walk was organized to call all Nepalese people together in peace, to encourage cooperation and integrity among political leaders, and to remind members of the executive, Constituent Assembly, and all political parties and concerned authorities of their obligations to the people of Nepal. The busy streets of Kathmandu were filled with conscientious citizens carrying banners and placards with beautiful slogans.
The peace walk started from Tudikhel, Ratna Park at 8:00 A.M. with the cutting a white ribbon. Among the chief guests in the procession were the Former Speaker of the House, Hon. Daman Nath Dhungana; human rights activist Mr. Padma Ratna Tuladhar; former minister Er. Ganesh Shah; President of Interreligious Council Nepal, Rev. Damodar Gautam; Prof. Dr. Shreeram Upadhyaya; Prof. Dr. Tulsi Pathak; GPF South Asia Regional Representative Mr. In Don Kang; and many other dignitaries. More than a thousand VIPs and youth participated in the peace walk representing different walks of life and different organizations.
The Peace Walk ended at the Durbar Square in Basantapur, one of the UN World Heritage Sites of Nepal. At the conclusion, a large crowd enjoyed a street drama on Nepal’s Peace Process and Constituent Assembly, presented by the national-level performance group Mandala Theatre Nepal.