Tarai protest sees no end, Bardiya folk defy bandaProtests against the promulgation of new constitution continued in several districts in Tarai on Wednesday as well.
Protests against the promulgation of new constitution continued in several districts in Tarai on Wednesday as well.
The disgruntled Madhes-based parties staged demonstration at Jamunaha along the Nepal-India border, Banke. The demonstrators burned the effigy of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, accusing that his government and the major three parties did not address the demands raised by Tharu and Madhesi.
The protesters blocked Jamunaha border point. According to Jamunaha Police Post, transportation of goods came to a halt in the area for about one and half hours. “As the government and the major parties are trying to suppress our movement, we have decided to take our protest near local customs offices to exert pressure,” said Pashupati Dayak Mishra, central member of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party.
The protesters also distributed press releases to Indian journalists in Rupaidiha to draw attention of Indian government towards their protest. Addressing a gathering at Manpur, the leaders of the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha warned of launching stringent protest. The Morcha has been demanding two autonomous states in Tarai and delineation of constituencies based on population.
Transportation resumed in various parts in Bardiya district despite the banda enforced by Tharuhat campaigners and the Morcha. Our correspondent in Biratnagar said that police escorted 192 trucks loaded with goods that were stranded at Biratnagar customs. Local business community, meanwhile, warned of defying the banda if it was not called off within three days. The Morcha activists torched a motorcycle at Rangali for defying banda. The protesters disrupted transportation in the area by felling trees on the road. In Kailali, an unidentified group torched the VDC office of Bauniya on Tuesday night. Furniture and documents at the office were destroyed. It is suspected that the agitating Tharuhat supporters might have torched the office.
Civil society pushes for dialogue
Civil society leaders have urged the government to resolve the Tarai-Madhes crisis through political dialogue.
“A situation has been created in which a significant part of the backward communities that struggled for changes could not take ownership of the constitution,” they said in a statement on Wednesday.
Signatories of the statement include Daman Nath Dhungana, Lokraj Baral, Om Gurung, Malla K Sundar, Vidyadhar Mallik, CK Lal, Khagendra Sangraula and Krishna Hachhethu, among others.
The statement was released following a discussion in the Capital on the contemporary situation. The programme was led by UCPN (Maoist) leader Baburam Bhattarai.
“We would like to clearly and firmly state that this crisis cannot be resolved through excessive use of force and bureaucratically. Doing so may intensify
the crisis instead of bringing back the paralysed life in the Tarai-Madhes region to normalcy,” they said.
“Not only will the implementation of the new constitution be difficult and challenging, but the country will face threat of another big conflict.”
UCPN (M) stresses serious negotiation
The UCPN (Maoist) on Wednesday stressed the need for a honest and serious dialogue to seek a political solution to ongoing protests in the Tarai.
Issuing a press statement, the Maoist party appealed to the agitating parties to come to the negotiating table to get their “genuine demands” addressed in the new constitution. The party also asked them to make the protests peaceful and non-violent.
The Maoist party also urged the agitating Madhes-based parties to be cautious that some anarchic forces could take undue advantage of the ongoing protests. Though the new constitution has institutionalised federalism, secularism and inclusion, the Madhesis and other marginalised communities have been in protest demanding that some of the “genuine concerns” be addressed in the new charter.
Reminded that it had tabled the note of dissent on the constitution drafting process, the UCPN (Maoist) said, “The party is working to address the demands of Madhesi, Tharu, Muslim, Dalit communities and women in the new constitution.”