Tarai forces draw China’s attention to their agendas

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 19, 2016-

The Madhes-based parties have submitted “a letter” to Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai in an effort to draw Beijing’s attention toward the Madhes Movement. The parties, which have 

been demanding greater autonomy for the plains, have also sought China’s support for the agendas of the agitating Madhesi and Janajati communities.

A group of leaders from 15 regional parties handed over the letter to Ambassador Wu amid a formal programme organised at Shangrila Hotel here on Friday. On the occasion, the leaders briefed the ambassador on their concerns and urged the northern neighbour to press Kathmandu to meet their demands.

This is the first formal request for support made by Madhesis and Janajatis to China while the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha leadership has made several trips to New Delhi and Bihar to seek help.

The request comes at a critical time when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is set to embark on a weeklong China visit. He leaves for China on Sunday on an official visit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

“It’s just a letter, not a memorandum, submitted to draw Beijing attention to our struggle on the eve of our prime minister’s China visit,” said Anil Jha, chairman of Nepal Sadbhawana Party.

During the meeting, Ashok Kumar Rai, senior leader of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal (SSFN), told the Chinese ambassador that the Madhesi, Janajati and other marginalised communities were unwilling to take ownership of the new constitution due to its “discriminatory provisions”.

“During his India visit, Prime Minister Oli falsely claimed that the first amendment to the constitution has addressed all our concerns. We want to draw your attention that most of our concerns have not been addressed yet,” Rai told the ambassador.

Ambassador Wu said that the Madhes agitation that began after the promulgation of the new constitution should be resolved through consensus.

During the two-hour meeting, the envoy clarified that as the second largest economy in the world, China’s priority was economic prosperity and development of Nepal. He addressed the meeting for about half-an-hour but refrained from commenting on Nepal’s political situation.

“I am very glad that you came for a meeting at this time,” said Wu, referring to the PM’s China visit. “We have good relations not only with Nepal but also with India. When our president [Xi Jinping] visited India last time, he and Indian PM Narendra Modi prioritised discussion on economic agenda. We want Nepal to be an economic partner of China.”

After China welcomed the constitution calling it a historic achievement, Sadbhawana party cadres had burnt Chinese flags. The parties had accused Beijing of “siding with Kathmandu”.

SSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav had issued a statement condemning the act after the Chinese embassy expressed serious concern through formal and informal channels.

Published: 19-03-2016 07:17

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