Nefin agrees to launch nationwide protest

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 12, 2015-

 Fifty-six ethnic organisations associated with the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Nefin) have agreed to launch a nationwide struggle for identity and inclusion in the wake of growing dissent among indigenous communities against the proposed six-province federal model.  

Under pressure from leaders across the country, Nefin has also pledged unequivocal support to the ongoing protest of Tharu communities in western Nepal. 

A meeting of ethnic leaders in the Capital decided on Wednesday to start the protest from next week under Nefin’s leadership. Nefin office bearers said the meeting had charted out various protest programmes, including general strike in the Capital to oppose the move.  

“Besides supporting the calls for autonomous Tharuhat, the meeting has also supported demands of Magar and Sherpa,” said Nefin General Secretary Pemba Bhote. Nefin is scheduled to announce the protest amidst a formal programme on Friday. 

Bhote and Nefin Chairman Nagendra Kumal have come under tremendous criticism for failing to take a clear position on the issue of identity and inclusion.

 The ethnic organisations accuse the duo of abandoning Janajati agendas at under the direction of the ruling Nepali Congress and UML. Kumal and Bhote are lawmakers from the NC and UML respectively. 

“It’s becoming clearer by the day that they had traded CA post with rights of Janajatis. We have made it clear to them that ethnic organisations cannot just wait and watch now,” said a Tharu leader. 

The Tharu, Magar and Sherpa communities have been pressing Nefin to launch a protest across the nation in support of autonomous Tharuwan and other provinces. 

Several districts in western Tarai, including Kanchanpur and Kailali, remained tense throughout the day on Monday due to protests. The Tharus are demanding that Tarai districts west of Chitwan be declared Tharuhat province, with a similar reorganisation in eastern Tarai. 

The Magar, Sherpa, Tamang, Rai and Limbu communities have also been demanding autonomous provinces. 

Bhote and other Nefin leaders said certain elements are trying to assassinate their character by labelling false allegations. “We are committed to uphold the Janajati campaign,” said Bhote. 

Some ethnic leaders said discussions are on to hand over the leadership of protest to someone with the clean image. 

Published: 12-08-2015 11:26

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