Nepal government invites Terai armed groups for dialogue

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Kathmandu, Oct 5 (UNI) The Nepal government has formally called on the groups operating in Terai with political intentions to come to negotiation table.

Speaking at a press conference in Kathmandu, former Maoists commander and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Janardan Sharma invited agitating Terai-based political groups to talks today.

''Letters will be sent to the agitating groups,'' Minister Sharma was quoted in local media as saying.

The demands of the armed outfits operating in Terai would be studied and categorised into political and non-political, and then the strategies for the dialogue would be prepared, he said.

There are over a dozen armed groups active in Terai, the plain area in the south bordering India, who have launched activities of kidnapping, looting and terrorising demanding greater autonomy for the people of Terai.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the government would hold dialogue with the groups involved in criminal activities only after investigation and consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Kantipur said.

A number of armed groups held meeting in Bihar recently and said that there was a possibility of dialogue with the government if the latter pledged to make it meaningful.

''If the government fosters an environment that is favourable and pledges to make the talks meaningful, we are ready to sit for such talks,'' Kantipur quoted Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) leader Bidrohi as saying.

The groups have also declared a 'ceasefire period' for Dashain from October 6 to 14. Even as they decided to declare a truce and cease armed activities, members of underground outfits have intensified their extortion drives in the Terai districts in recent days, local media reported.

UNI XC RJ PM1815

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