The local administration claims that yesterday’s sit-in protest by Seema Jagaran Manch of Bihar (India) on Indian side of the border supporting MPRF was enough to justify the earlier suspicion of infiltration of Indian nationals in rallies organized here by MPRF in the past.
By Binod Bhandari and Bhim Ghimire
BIRATNAGAR- At a time when speculations are rife about the involvement of people from neighboring India in violent rallies of the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) in terai districts, an organization based in the Indian state of Bihar staged a sit-in in the Indian side of the Jogbani border point “protesting police crackdown on Indian nationals during MPRF rallies and expressing solidarity with MPRF’s protests”, Wednesday (28 March). The sit-in by Seema Jagaran Manch, Bihar, has not only confirmed the involvement of Indian nationals in violent MPRF rallies, but also raised questions over the type of nexus the MPRF has with the organization. Customs work was halted as agitators prevented vehicles from plying via the border point. On a normal day, around 300 goods trucks pass through the point while the Customs Office collects at least Rs 18 million in revenue.
In a statement, the Manch also accused Maoists of attacking Indian nationals with the help of police in Biratnagar, Gaur, Birgunj and many other places during MPRF’s protest programs. “The sit-in at the border point is also aimed at exerting pressure to stop the Maoists’ ongoing expansion of their organization in India in recent times,” said Bhanu Prasad Rai, chairman of the organization. He also clearly said that his organization “fully supports MPRF’s movement in the Terai”. The local administration claims that Wednesday’s sit-in was enough to justify the earlier suspicion of infiltration of Indian nationals in rallies organized here by MPRF in the past.
On January 31, two Indian nationals- Dalbal Tiwari and Rustam Miya- along with half a dozen other MPRF cadres were injured in a clash with police at bordering Materuwa area as protesters tried to snatch weapons from the police. On that very day, Sub-inspector Nareshjung Karki was brutally killed as MPRF cadres stormed the Budhanagar police post. Local authorities also claim that a large number of Indians had taken part in the violent demonstration at Singhiya Bridge area on February 7 where two MPRF cadres were killed in police action. Meanwhile, police claimed that MPRF cadres and leaders were also present at the sit-in. MPRF’s Budhanagar chairman Prithvi Chanda Sah, Biratnagar-22 chairman Mahesh Shah and many cadres of Amaduwa village also participated in the sit-in, police sources at bordering Rani post claimed.