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Himalayan Guardian Gangtok, Sikkim, India
April 23, 1997

Asserting identity is not being communal: NEPAL SOULD BE A SECULAR COUNTRY

"Those levelling allegations against me have to first explain what being communal means," said Mr. Gopal Gurung, leader of the Nepal based Mongol National Organization while commenting on the resent memorandum submitted by the State wing of the Youth Congress to the Governor Chaudhary Randhir Singh, demanding a restriction on his movement in Sikkim. Mr. Gurung stated that he had to face similar misconceptions in his native Nepal, to where his efforts at providing the Nepalese with Mongol origin an identity are misconstrued as being a communal gimmick. "Responding only one religion and race and promoting only one language and custom is being communal," he said while clarifying that he was only trying to "assert the independent identity of a race" and not espousing its purity of superiority over others. "People who accuse me of being communal are looking at things from a very narrow perspective," he added. "The situation in Nepal is ever worse. While the Constitution points out that the king can only be a Hindu Aryan, it restricts Mongols a right to call themselves Mongols," he said hinting at the Nepal Supreme Court's refusal to give his party registration on the ground that it had a word Mongol in it. According to the Election Commission of Nepal, political parties named after religions or castes cannot be registered. Mr. Gurung also contended that call of unity among Mongoloid Nepalese as branded communal in Nepal is proof that there are no human rights there. "Racial discrimination in Nepal can end only if it becomes a secular republic like India," he said.

By A Staff Reporter

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