Madhesis announce fresh protest plans, Nepal PM dismisses stir
Kathmandu, Dec 18: Nepal's Indian-origin Madhesis today announced fresh protest plans over the new Constitution saying talks with the government have become irrelevant even as Nepalese Premier dismissed their over three months-long stir as unnecessary.
The agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front announced new protest programmes as they believe the government was taking the talks lightly.
The Madhesi Front held a meeting here to review the protest programmes and formulate new strategies in the wake of the Constitution Amendment Bill the government tabled at the Parliament and announced new programmes, the Himalayan Times reported.
The new protest programmes include burning copies of the Constitution Amendment Bill, holding protest rallies and assemblies and obstructing representatives of the government including ministers and lawmakers from visiting Tarai districts.
The Madhesi Front, however, maintained silence on if its border blockade programme. The Front concluded that the talks turned irrelevant as the government did not have any clear view on demands of the protesting parties, a statement issued after the meeting said.
It said the Constitution Amendment Bill did not address concerns of Madhesis, Janajatis, Dalits, Tharus, Muslims and other agitating communities.
"It is not acceptable to us," the Madhesi Front asserted. The meeting was held as the months-long political crisis and border blockade facing Nepal following the promulgation of its new Constitution in September showed no signs of resolution.
Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal's Terai region, are protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution. Meanwhile, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli said protests ongoing in the Tarai districts did not have any significance.
Addressing a mass meeting of his party CPN-UML in Attariya of Kailali district today, Oli was quoted as saying that the Constitution already ensured rights of Madhesis and hence the protests were unnecessary.
Some leaders dissatisfied with assurance of those rights in the statute waged the protests, he said.
"There is dishonesty in the name of Madhesi people. What is the protest for?" Oli asked. "The schools are closed in the Madhes, but children of the protesting leaders study in Delhi and Dehradun.
They ride cars but torch ambulances carrying patients from the Madhes," he said. Claiming that the leaders are actually working against people of Madhes, Oli said they could always express their differences through a set system. As the Constitution is ever amendable, everything can be corrected anytime, he said.