Morcha announces fresh protestsMiffed at what it calls “lack of seriousness shown by the government” to address its concerns, the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha has announced a series of fresh protest programmes.
Miffed at what it calls “lack of seriousness shown by the government” to address its concerns, the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha has announced a series of fresh protest programmes.
The SLMM, an alliance of four Madhes-based parties, has said that it will organised sit-ins, general strikes and peaceful demonstrations and will resort to civil obedience in the coming days. The alliance, which has been staging demonstrations and protests at key Nepal-India border points for more than four months now, however, has stopped short of saying anything specific about border-centric protests.
After several rounds of failed informal and formal talks with the government and major parties, top Morcha leaders on December 6 had left for New Delhi where they held consultations with the Indian establishment and leaders of various Indian political parties. After their return on December 9, talks had moved forward, with many hoping that a deal was at hand.
But the government move on December 15 of tabling the Constitution Amendment Bill along with the Reconstruction Authority Bill vexed the Madhes-based parties no end, as they had consented only for tabling the bill related to formation of the Reconstruction Authority.
Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur had then said the “major parties betrayed Madhesi people’s trust”.
The Morcha said on Friday that significance of talks had ended and that if the government wanted to hold talks, it should go to the Tarai.
“We are heading to Madhes now,” said Thakur at a press conference that was organised to announce the decisions of the two-day meeting of the Morcha.
“The government should come to Madhes if it indeed wants to hold talks with us.”
The Madhes-based parties said they were forced to announce fresh stirs. “Even after 126 days of protests and deaths of at least 55 people, there was hardly any change in the mindset of ‘the ruling people’, who are trumpeting ‘blind nationalism’,” the Morcha said.
Thakur said when the Morcha held talks with the government, “we were maintaining flexibility. “Our flexibility and patience were construed as our weakness, and the government did not take the talks seriously,” he said. “People in key positions are not tired of making statements against Madhesi, Tharu, Adibashi-Janajati, Muslim, Dalit and other marginalised communities. There was hardly any seriousness on the part of the government even though we had held 15 rounds of formal and informal talks.”
The Madhes-based parties, which have made redrawing of provincial boundaries with at least two provinces in the Tarai their key demands, are also seeking amendment to the constitutional provisions related to proportional representation, electoral constituencies and citizenship.
The Morcha has accused the government and the main opposition, Nepali Congress, of bulldozing the Constitution Amendment Bill, which they say “does not address” their concerns.
Upendra Yadav, chairman of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, one of the constituents of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, on Friday absented himself from the press conference organised by the Morcha.