Nepal's agitating Madhesis withdraw protests due to festival

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Kathmandu, Oct 13: Nepal's agitating Madhesi groups today said they will withdraw all their protest programmes except the blockade on the Indian border, in view of the upcoming festival of Vijaya Dashami though there was some improvement in the supply of fuel from India.

Most of the agitating Madhesi parties had cast their votes in Parliament against the newly-elected Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of CPN-UML.

Nepal: Madhesis withdraw protests

The Madhesi front had several rounds of meetings to discuss ways to justify their move to vote in the election which is regarded here as the first act of implementing the new Constitution. [New Nepal PM sworn-in, forms cabinet]

However, many Madhesi activists have heavily criticised their leaders for taking part in power politics which has in a way helped implement the new Constitution, copies of which were burnt by Madhesi parties for failing to address their concerns.

Except the Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum-Democratic led by Bijaya Gachhadar, all other Madhesi lawmakers voted in favour of Oli's rival, former premier and NC chief Sushil Koirala. Gachhadar not only voted in favour of Oli but also secured a berth in the new cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister with the powerful portfolio of Physical Planning and Transport.

Meanwhile, there has also been an improvement in the supply of fuel from India in the last two days with the formation of the new government, bringing much-needed relief for the people ahead of the festive season as Nepal has been reeling under severe scarcity of essential goods due to blockade of border entry points by the agitators.

Nepal has been wracked by violent political protests by Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities agitating against the new Constitution.

Over 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters. The country has also been locked in a diplomatic standoff with India over the supply of essential goods, including petroleum products, which has been hit due to the border blockade following the violence though New Delhi has denied imposing the blockade.

The Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities residing in southern Nepal.

Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai region bordering India who are also opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.

PTI 

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