Southern Nepal Conflict: When Criminals Take Charge of Demonstrations

A peace rally in Jhapa

With the heinous killing of Assistant Sub Inspector Naresh Jung Karki in Biratnagar this evening, it has become crystal clear that the ongoing movement in eastern Terai is more than just an expression of political dissatisfaction: it is overwhelmingly dominated by criminal intentions. To carry swords, iron rods and go on rampage in residential area can’t be a political demonstration. To demand federalism and proportional representation in election is a political work but to continue with murderous activities even after listening the genuine answer from the government established by the peoples’ movement is a deplorable act. Today’s killing of the policeman and other violent activities in the recent past in eastern Terai marks the spectacular comeback of royalist elements in political scenario that were sidelined by people in April. It was an open secret that they would seek ways for comeback to try their best to make democracy a failure. They will do anything to create the impression that monarchy is needed in Nepal. They used the Maoist movement in the past for the same and now they are trying to deliver this message: look what’s happening when king is sidelined. They will do everything to turn these demonstrations into full fledged communal conflict in Nepal which will ultimately weaken peoples’ united power to run the government.

How can anyone justify the brutal killing of a policeman? [ASI Naresh Jung Karki was leading a 13-member police team at Buddhanagar, Biratnagar at 5 pm this evening. Criminals associating themselves with the Madheshi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF) surrounded the police team and barbarically killed Karki to death by using knives and swords. The protesters, according to eKantipur, also abducted three other policemen after attacking them with sharp weapons, sources said. The criminals also took away 2 rifles and a pistol from the policemen. In retaliation, the police had opened fire on them. The bloody protests in southeastern Nepal have already claimed the lives of ten people over the past two weeks.] How can you justify a movement that, it seems, doesn’t believe in talks? Even the Maoists, who were waging a violent war, came to the talks table and engaged themselves in peace process. But these elements that are spreading violence in Madhesh under the cover of political demands are exposing themselves as days are passing. They will put forward one nonsense demand after another as the government goes on addressing them. The government must use its machinery to expose infiltrating criminal elements. It has partially done so by arresting Kamal Thapa, Badri Mandal and Salim Ansari but this must be intensified. We are running out of time.

Prachanda Says

CPN-Maoist Chairman Prachanda today assured that the eight parties would address the demands of the Madhesi people since an agreement in principle for a federal democratic setup had already been reached. Prachanda made the comments today while talking to the media after a meeting with representatives of various human right organizations. He also added that homework was being done to implement a proportional electoral model in the country. Prachanda further claimed that the demands of the Terai community were also the demands raised by his own party, adding that this had make things “easier” for him. He also assured that the CPN-M was taking the issue of the Madhesi movement very seriously.

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Koirala on TV, Addresses Madheshi Demands

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala appeared on national television a few minutes ago to tell the country that the government has agreed to address the key demands put forward by the agitating Madheshi groups in southern Nepal. That wasn’t exactly what we call an address to nation (Koirala was addressing a gathering of selected leaders from different political parties and that was broadcast live on at least two TV stations in Kathmandu, around Nepal and abroad via satellite links) but Koirala delivered the message effectively. In the beginning he gave unwritten speech in his own trademark style. Then he grabbed a written statement and read out the content. That statement contained the decisions made by the eight parties in the past several hours on the ongoing Madheshi movement.

girija prasad koirala addressing nation

Prime Minister Koirala seemed genuine and honest in his words. He said that he was worried about the possible involvement reactionary forces in the agitation. Prime Minister Koirala said he was worried about not being able to hold election of constituent assembly election on time, a key mandate, he said, of the April uprising. Prime Minister emphasized that the problem in Terai was internal and Nepalis themselves should solve it. This country belongs to all of us Nepalis, he said, it doesn’t belong to any one individual. He said the government has decided include federal governance structure in the upcoming constitution to be formulated by the Constituent Assembly. He also said the electoral constituencies will be revised on the basis of population. While doing so, the Prime Minister said, no existing constituencies in districts will be removed.

NOW, the movement in Terai (Southern Nepal) that is increasingly turning into communal and secessionist MUST be stopped. AND the state of Nepal must focus itself to the election of Constituent Assembly.