Fresh protests on Morcha cardsAs negotiations fail to resume two months after the end of the Birgunj border obstruction, the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha has begun “final” preparations for a fresh programme of protest with an “ultimatum” issued to the government set to expire.
As negotiations fail to resume two months after the end of the Birgunj border obstruction, the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha has begun “final” preparations for a fresh programme of protest with an “ultimatum” issued to the government set to expire.
Morcha allies are meeting next week to draft a blueprint for the protest which is likely to start from the last week of April, leaders said. The agitating parties had warned of resuming their movement from the new Nepali year if the government did not address their issues.
On March 11, the Morcha submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, threatening protests if their demands are not met within the given timeframe.
“The protest will start from Baishak [mid-April]. The seven parties in the Morcha are meeting soon to finalise the issues,” said Rajendra Mahato, chairman of the Sadbhawana Party.
Morcha leaders are planning to start the stir, which would be symbolic in the beginning. But they plan to enforce more severe and disruptive form of protests gradually if the government continues to ignore them.
“We’ll target Singha Durbar first. There will be gradual change in protest as required,” said Mahato. The Morcha has also begun talks with fringe Janajati parties for possible collaboration for a revolt in the Hills. Madhesi Morcha felt the need for a strong Kathmandu-centric protest after it failed to achieve its goal even after more than 50 deaths during the months-long violent agitation.
Though there is no plan for border-centric protests in the preliminary draft, second-rung leaders have warned that there could be yet another blockade if the government continued to be apathetic to their cause. Unexplained delays in resuming the stalled talks have raised fears in the Morcha leadership that the government might be waiting for the movement to fizzle out. They also fear that the government may be using the waning protests as the pretext to ignore them altogether.
“Earlier, we withdrew our protest realising the public hardship. We hope the common people and other stakeholders including the international community and civil society will also support our protest this time for a political solution to the protractd crisis,” said Ashok Rai, senior leader of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal.