Drive begins for united Tharuhat

  • Demand: Alignment of Tharu strongholds of Kailali and Kanchanpur districts with a Tharuwan province
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Campaign affiliates hold their first mass meeting in months, voicing dissatisfaction against the proposed redrawing of federal boundaries

Feb 8, 2017-More than one-and-a-half years after the Kailali incident that left at least nine people dead, the Tharuwan/Tharuhat Joint Struggle Committee (TJSC) and Tharu groups affiliated to various political parties have started a fresh campaign in the Far West to press the government to form a united Tharuhat province.

TJSC affiliates on Monday held their first mass meeting in months, voicing their dissatisfaction against the proposed redrawing of federal boundaries. 

They have demanded alignment of the Tharu strongholds of Kailali and Kanchanpur with the Tharuwan province. 

Tharu leaders from across the party line have been organising similar rallies elsewhere including in Nawalparasi, Bardiya and Dang where the Tharu population is relatively high.

Tharu leaders struggling for a united Tharuwan warned of a strong revolt if their concerns were ignored while amending the constitution. They claim that the campaign for united Tharuwan is gaining momentum despite months of extensive crackdown on dissident voices and leaders.

“You cannot suppress the aspiration of the people forever through the use of force. The government should honour the Tharu communities’ demand for a Tharuwan that includes Kailali and Kanchanpur. Dissatisfaction is brewing on the ground,” General Secretary of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Loktantrik Ram Janam Chaudhary, who represents a constituency in Kailali, told the Post. 

He said that the proposed province cannot be accepted as it falls short of addressing the concerns of the Tharus over demarcation.

Tharu leaders said they were planning a series of demonstrations to mount pressure on the government to include Kailali, Kanchanpur and Nawalparasi districts with the rest of the districts in the western plains.

The TJSC had been less active for months after dozens of its leaders were arrested following a deadly clash in Tikapur that claimed the lives of eight police personnel and a toddler and left several dozen people injured. 

Several Tharu leaders including TJSC coordinator Dhani Ram Chaudhary, Laxman Tharu and Lahu Ram Chaudhary are under watch while many others fled to neighbouring India.

Rajkumar Lekhi, a Tharu leader, said the major parties and the government should seek a political solution to the crisis that started with the constitution drafting process.

“The struggle for identity and autonomy will continue. The problem will only intensify if the government does not find an early solution,” said Tharu.

Krishna Kumar Chaudhary, the TJSC coordinator in Kailali, said Tharu groups would fight for integration of Kailali and Kanchanpur “till the end”. He also denounced the government for discriminating against the Tharu protesters and those affiliated with the major parties.

Published: 08-02-2017 08:08

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