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Can Terai Movement Be Identified With Atrocities?

Can Terai Movement Of Nepal Be Identified With The Monarchists Atrocities?

By Bhupal Lamichhaney

The on going Terai unrest in Nepal has been triggered by a protest movement called by the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, a socio-political group of Madhesis, people of Indian origin living in the southern part of Nepal. According to Upendra Yadav, Forum chief the protest is to establish the rights for the Diaspora that comprise almost half of Nepal's population, but remain excluded from all government offices, from the judiciary to the army. Almost half the Diaspora also has no documents to prove they are citizens of Nepal and therefore, no voting rights.

The movement was supposed to be nonviolent however, turned into violence, which claimed nine lives in a few days. The lives in the Terai have been virtually stood unmoved since the unrest started.

The protests started on Jan 16 with the demand of an autonomous Madhes state and proportional representation in the upcoming constituent assembly election, which have begun snowballing, with other Madhesi organizations joining in.

On Monday, a powerful Minister, Hridayesh Tripathi from Madhesi community, resigned the cabinet to show solidarity with the demands of the community. He also threatened to quit the ruling alliance. Although his party is in the ruling alliance, has written note of decent on draft interim constitution. ( )

In connection with the present Terai unrest three influential ministers in King Gyanendra's cabinet were arrested. It seems that Nepal government began a crackdown to control spiraling violence in the Terai plains claimed one more life of a 33 year old protester from Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's home town Biratnagar on Tueseday. All most of all deaths were caused due to police firing.

Kamal Thapa, ex home minister in the royal rule who advocated force against both the Maoist guerrillas and unarmed civilian protesters, was arrested around Monday from his residence in Kathmandu.

Badri Prasad Mandal, former deputy prime minister, who held two different ministries during the Royal rule was also arrested from his residence in Biratnagar Monday night.

Salim Miya Ansari, who represented the Parliament from Bara district from the UML ticket deserted the party and formed his own to join the royal government, was arrested as well.

The commonalities of all these three arrested people are that they splinted their own parties and became the supporter of the King.

In the meantime, curfew was imposed in Biratnagar following the death while two more key towns, Janakpur in Dhanusha and Kalaiya in Bara, also remained under curfew Tuesday.

Previously the Maoists supreme was of the view that the violence flared up due to infiltration of the Monarchists and the Hindu fundamentalists some of them even must have crossed over the country boarder.

Now the same kind of rhetoric has come from the Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula who said the continuing violence, arson and vandalism was the work of the followers of King Gyanendra, who were trying to prevent the June election that might abolish monarchy.

A private daily reported that police have been handed over a list over 80 royalists, including former t ministers and top government officers.

In the mean time the Terai unrest has been successful to draw attentions of all actors the national as well as the international actors. With the violence claiming eight lives and life across the Indian border crush to a halt, Indian ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, met Koirala to discuss the situation.

What can we make out of the present situation in the Terai and Nepal government’s attitude of identifying it with the atrocities of the fading Monarchists? Will this attitude solve the problem?


Bhupal Lamichhaney: working independently on nonviolence activism for human rights and democratic values and can be reached at bhupall @ . His ideas and views can be read in blogs:

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