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Morcha says Big 3 have done zilch to help cause

  • No deal even as ruling parties, opposition and protesting forces hope for a breakthrough soon
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 6, 2015-

Leaders of the agitating Madhes-based parties have rejected the offer of three major parties to address their demands in phases, seeking their written commitment to a second state in the plains.

A trilateral meeting between the ruling, main opposition and agitating parties failed to reach a deal on Saturday evening although leaders from all sides remained hopeful of a breakthrough soon.

During the meeting, Prime Minister KP Oli expressed his commitment on behalf of three major parties to addressing all “valid” demands raised by the Madhes-based parties in phases and urged them to withdraw their protests including sit-ins on the Nepal-India border points.

The disgruntled parties, however, refused to end their agitation immediately accusing the government of not delivering on its past commitments. They demanded the major parties’ clear position on redrawing the federal map.

Soon after the meeting began, PM Oli urged leaders of the regional parties to reach an agreement immediately in view of the growing humanitarian crisis in the country. He also informed them about the major parties’ decision to expedite the constitution amendment proposal floated by the erstwhile Sushil Koirala-led government and to form an all-party political committee to revise the borders of the federal provinces.

Unveiling their phase-wise proposal for ending the deepening crisis in the Tarai, the ruling parties and the opposition Nepali Congress on Friday urged the agitating parties to end their stir. The obstruction in the supply of daily essentials including fuel and life-saving medicines has pushed the country towards a humanitarian crisis.

Also, the PM assured them of the government’s seriousness to honour its commitments. “The government has already released funds for compensation and treatment of cadres injured in protests. It will be distributed soon by overcoming bureaucratic hassles,” said the PM.

Madhesi Morcha leaders demanded details of compensation provided to the families of those killed in protests and treatment for the injured, said Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

A two-member committee comprising Law Minister Agni Kharel and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Vice-chairman Lal Babu Raut has been assigned to prepare the details before the next meeting.

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur said they had rejected the major parties’ offer to address the demands in phases and their request to withdraw the protests immediately. He said there was no other substantial discussion. “However, we made it clear that a deal on demarcation is necessary for the agitation to end in the spirit of our 11-point demand,” said Thakur.

In a blame game, Morcha leaders lambasted excessive use of force by police to suppress their protests while leaders from the major parties brought up attacks on human rights activists, incidents of pelting the security forces with stones from across the border, and the Tikapur carnage.

Morcha leaders said the next meeting would be held after their visit to India scheduled to begin on Sunday. The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha leadership would seek New Delhi’s support in striking a concrete deal on federal restructuring during their meeting with Indian leaders on Sunday.

SSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav, TMLP Chair Thakur, Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato and Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party chief Rameshwor Raya Yadav confirmed their visit in a joint statement on Saturday.

The three-party agreement to address their demands in phases is believed to have been signed after receiving a green signal from Delhi which has imposed an unofficial border blockade citing the Tarai agitation.

The deal proposes revisiting the state borders through a high-level political committee within three months. In the first phase, the major parties plan to forward two amendment proposals registered in Parliament.

Morcha leaders said they can neither accept the two proposals nor the offer to revise the boundaries within three months. SLMM leaders said the big parties’ reluctance to commit to two Tarai provinces in writing had raised doubts about their intention.

“What’s the guarantee now that the major parties will keep their promises when they betrayed us in the past. People won’t accept any agreement without getting two provinces in Madhes,” Mahato told Post on Friday evening. Mahato, alongside TMSP Chairman Yadav were in Sitamarhi of Bihar on Saturday on their way to the Indian capital.        

Morcha leaders said the three-party proposal was rejected several times earlier as “it is more regressive than what was proposed in informal talks”.

“Our position is clear: Form two provinces in the plains and amend discriminatory provisions of the constitution as per the spirit of the eight-point and 22-point agreements,” said Yadav.

Morcha leaders said a high-level political commitment to the second Tarai province was necessary for an agreement.

Published: 06-12-2015 08:26

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