Occupying border again is sheer folly: Rajendra Mahato

- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu

Apr 14, 2016-Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato, an influential face in the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha which is planning to launch a fresh round of protests, said on Wednesday that there were no plans to enforce “another blockade” on the border. 

Mahato, who had led the SLMM protest at a major entry point, halting supplies from India, told the Post: “We have no plans to occupy border points this time, as it caused too much hardship for people but made no difference when it came to getting our concerns addressed by the government. Our last protest claimed too many lives compared to what we achieved.”

The Morcha that took to the streets following the constitution promulgation had staged sit-ins at the Birgunj-Rauxal border point for more than five months, which had resulted in acute shortages of essential supplies. The Morcha withdrew the protests two months ago, but has announced that it will launch fresh protests from April-end. “It will be ‘sheer folly’ to make an attempt to occupy the border again as the government is waiting for an opportune moment to kill more protesters,” said Mahato. 

At least 50 people, including police personnel, were killed during the protests sparked by the new constitution.

The Morcha leadership is planning to target Kathmandu during their upcoming protests. The regional parties have also reached an agreement for “tactical alliance” with Janajati groups. 

“We intend to impose blockade on the Singha Durbar as our struggle is against the elites running this country. But we do not intend to cause further hardship for the common people,” said Mahato, adding that the protest would be peaceful. 

Madhesi and Janajati leaders are meeting again on Thursday to devise their strategy and protests. 

Fringe Madhesi parties in Morcha and some Janajati groups had earlier agreed to resume united struggle for identity-based federalism and inclusion. The two sides are holding an interaction in Kathmandu next week in order to collect feedback. Members of Adivasi Janajati Rastriya Andolan (Ajra), a group of Janajati groups including fringe parties and ethnic organisations and right groups, and the SLMM, which has seven Madhes-based parties, are meeting on Thursday. 

“There has already been an agreement on launching a joint protest. The Janajati and Madhesi leadership will identify common agendas besides discussing joint strategies during Thursday’s meeting,” said Ang Kaji Sherpa, former general secretary of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities. 

Published: 14-04-2016 08:37

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