New Delhi, Mar 9: Expressing concern over the killing of four Madhesi protesters in police firing, India on Thursday said peace and stability in Nepal were of "paramount interest" to it. External Affairs Ministry's spokesperson Gopal Baglay said India's consistent view had been that political leaders in Nepal should address the issue of the Constitution through dialogue and consultations with participation of all sections of its society.
"India will continue to support efforts for peace, progress and stability in Nepal," Baglay said. Four United Democratic Madhesi Front supporters were killed on Monday when police opened fire to disperse protesters who had encircled a venue in Saptari district where a public meeting of the main opposition party CPN-UML was taking place.
The Madhesi Front had disrupted the meeting as part of its separate campaign against local body polls scheduled for May 14. The Nepalese police have also formed a three-member committee to investigate the killing.
"Peace and stability in Nepal are of paramount interest to us. We are seriously concerned at the recent violent clashes which you mentioned and in which several people lost their lives. "We conveyed our condolences to the families of the deceased and urge all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any action that may vitiate the atmosphere further," Baglay said.
Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a six-month- long agitation in 2015 against the implementation of the Constitution without amending its provisions that would address the demands for more representation and re-demarcation of state boundaries. At least 50 people died in the violent Madhesi protests between September 2015 and February last year.
Replying to a separate query, Baglay said the government was also making sincere efforts to secure the release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil from captivity in Yemen. The priest was abducted by ISIS terrorists in March 2015 from an old age home in Aden run by the Missionaries of Charity.