Tag Archives: Madhes Movement

Biased Narrative of HRW Report on #Nepal

Prem Dhakal

Does Human Rights Watch (HRW) believe that people migrating within Nepal have no say about provincial delineation of the place where they live now, while those coming from India like Rajendra Mahato should have a greater say over delineation of the whole stretch of Terai?

Why is the narrative of Human Rights Watch (HRW) report biased for me? 

First of all, I must accept that I have not read the whole report. But from whatever I have read, I strongly feel the narrative was biased. I can make no claims about the incidents, anyway, as I am not witness to any of the incidents. So, my issue is only about the narrative which does not look neutral.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 14.19.02
Human Rights Watch (HRW) Report on Nepal that serves a side in the political narrative war of Nepal. It is also conspicuously silent on the economic blockade that’s resulted in grave humanitarian crisis in Nepal.

1.

The title is ‘Like We are not Nepali’ Protest and Police Crackdown in tarai of Nepal, with ‘Like We are not Nepali’ displayed prominently.
I find the title biased and provocative. I believe it’s a report prepared by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and not agitating Madhesis. Has HRW concluded that Madhesis are not treated like Nepalis? Has the state said so? Does the constitution say so? I believe one can’t give such a strong headline to a report investigating killing of civilians and security persons during violent protests.

I have always strongly condemned violence by both the state and protestors anywhere. But the Madhesis have been killed in places burning in protest, and the security persons have turned atrocious after the Kailali incident where security persons were brutally killed, as the HRW report also accepts. Madhesis have not been chased and killed, say in Kathmandu for example.

[Related: Like we are not human enough to deserve rights; was the HRW’s Nepal report meant to serve one side of a polarized political-narrative war?]

I’ve not seen HRW or any other HR organization, bringing a report titled ‘Like we are not American’ when black Americans have been killed, at peaceful times, by police on as trivial an issue as a routine traffic stop as in the case of Samuel DuBose on July 19 in Cincinnati. So, why such strong and provocative headline on death of Nepali citizens during the course of violent protests?

2.

I don’t like to be personal. But I still find citing Prashant Jha’s work thrice to construct the context of violence and history of discrimination a little surprising knowing where he stands. But, HRW deems him to be neutral and I trust the HRW judgement.

“Some parts of Nepali society regard Madhesis as “Indian” due to their community’s close cultural and linguistic ties with India and their frequent intermarriage with communities in neighboring regions across the border, and some have questioned Madhesis’ loyalty to the Nepali state.”

I don’t regard Madhesis as Indians and am not here to refute Jha’s claims in the book. But the HRW uses this extract to build the narrative and then decides to not use the claim of Indian Union Home Minister Raj Nath Singh, who is a former BJP president, that there are one crore (10 million) Indians in Nepal. Singh also promises that Indians will be protected in Nepal. Here is the link

His claim has yet to be retracted. Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, though, has issued a statement saying the comments attributed to him do not represent the government position.

Singh’s comment was widely covered in Nepali media and social media. I can’t believe HRW missed that. My question is why did HRW decide to cite Jha to build a narrative to prove that Madhesis are not treated like Nepalis (rather like Indians) while ignoring claims of Indian Union Home Minister that seem to claim they are indeed Indians. It could at least have mentioned it to inform the readers, especially the uninitiated international ones, and let the readers decide themselves.

[Related: Debunking Dr. Karan Singh’s misinformed comment about Nepal in Indian Parliament]

3.

“The Madhesi movements of 2007 and 2008 were largely peaceful but also involved some acts of arson and other violence, while numerous protesters were shot dead by the security forces.”

The report says Madhesi protesters were shot but does not mention 28 Maoists killed by Madhesis in Gaur at the start of the movement. The movement was also directed against people of Hill-origin living in the Terai region- a large number of uninvolved Hill-origin people were forced to flee, if they could escape the violence and arson.

“These movements also gave rise to new Madhes-based political parties, which prospered in the 2008 Constituent Assembly election. However, these parties suffered multiple splits, resulting in their winning far fewer seats in the 2013 Constituent Assembly election.”

The HRW, after taking trouble to trace centuries of discrimination, seems to be economical with the CA Election 2013. It does not want to add why the Madhes-based parties split. It also ignores a crucial fact that the Prime Minister of that time, Baburam Bhattarai described the second CA Election (he announced elections for the second CA while dissolving the first) as a sort of referendum between those supporting ethnicity based federalism and those against it. The first CA was dissolved primarily due to the issue of ethnicity-based federalism after the parties were unable to garner enough support on either side to draft a constitution. The ruling coalition support ethnicity-based federalism, but did not have enough places in the Assembly. They wanted to increase their strength through the second elections. HRW, for some reasons, seem to not accept that the result of the second CA was not only because of the split in Madhes-based parties and the Maoists. The mandate was a resounding rejection of the ethnicity-based federalism and other issues that the Maoists and Madhes-based parties were supporting before the election.

4.

“The Tharus were opposed by the Akhanda Sudur Paschim (United Far West) movement, largely composed of people who live in Kailali and neighboring Kanchanpur district but whose origins lie in the hills to the north.”

The HRW, citing it, seems to make a point that those who have migrated from hills to the plains are prevailing over the indigenous people. But then, the report does not mention that Rajendra Mahato, one of the top leaders of the current Madhes movement, was an Indian before becoming a naturalized Nepali. Mahato now is demanding that not just the district where he currently resides, but even Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari should be included in the Madhesh province. The right of naturalized citizens, particularly those coming from India, is one of the major agendas of the movement.

Does HRW believe that people migrating within Nepal have no say about provincial delineation of the place where they live now, while those coming from India like Mahato should have a greater say over delineation of the whole stretch of Terai?

5.

“On that day, three Madhesi political leaders from the eastern plains—Upendra Yadav, Rajendra Mahato, and Amresh Singh—made speeches at a rally in Tikapur, Kailali’s second largest town, which were widely said to have included inflammatory language, angering Akhanda supporters.” (to watch these videos with English subtitles, click here)

Why is HRW using the expression “said to have”? Does HRW not find such language inflammatory? I find it hard to believe that HRW cannot find footage of the videos that the media has played widely, and verify authenticity.

I’ve not read the whole report but I didn’t find any mention about the announcement of incentive of Rs 5 million to the family of anyone who is killed in what I have read. I even searched the whole report using the key words million, 5 and 50, but found no mention of that incentive.

6.

The HRW says security forces have used racial slurs against protesters. This no doubt is condemnable. The police personnel attacked, injured and lynched by the protestors include many of Madhesi origin too. But I find it surprising that the report does not mention Madhesi protesters using racial slurs. Did HRW try to learn from the security persons if they also have been racially insulted by protesters? Do the HRW want us to believe that Madhesi protesters protest with their mouths sealed or they are so controlled that they don’t retaliate even when security forces hurl racial slurs against them?

7.

It is also surprising that the HRW does not talk about Indian blockade in the report. One of the editors of the HRW report, Tejshree Thapa tweeted that blockade is a political issue, therefore out of scope for HRW. So, if HRW does not acknowledge political issues, why build the narrative by citing centuries of discrimination by hill elites and so on? Are the violent protests in Nepal of apolitical nature? Isn’t the blockade on Nepali population a grave humanitarian crime? If political history has to be connected while investigating killings by police and protesters following differences over political document like constitution, why ignore an issue that can have (currently having) serious humanitarian repercussions?

The most surprising thing is HRW mentions

“The Nepali government has blamed India for the shortages, claiming that India is imposing an unofficial blockade in order to force the government to amend the constitution in line with the Madhesi demands. India has denied this charge, claiming that the shortages are due to protester blockades and a general lack of security for the trucks ferrying the goods.”

[Related: A controlled Indian Blockade on Nepal, a BBC Report from a border town]

But does not send its men to visit all the border points to see if all of them have been obstructed by protesters or not. I would like to remind that goods were coming unhindered from Bhairahawa to Kathmandu before India started the blockade even as the border point in Birgunj was closed due to protests.

I believe HRW cannot be stretched for resources to send its men to see why the border points are obstructed, and adding one line to the above lines would not have completely transformed the report into a political one from that about human rights. I also find it surprising that the report, again in the parts which I have read, does not mention about protestors hurling stones from no man’s land.


Originally posted on Twitter by Prem Dhakal, directed to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and an editor of the Nepal report, Tejshree Thapa. The tweet can be viewed at this link. This UWB post has been published with Mr. Dhakal’s permission.

 

Advertisements

A controlled Indian blockade on Nepal (BBC report)

(Translation of a report by senior journalist Anil Yadav, first published in BBC Hindi. You can read the original report here. A Nepali translation of the report is available on the BBC Nepali website.)

Translated by nepalforeignaffairs.com team.


Indian government has been saying, even stressing continuously that it has not imposed any blockade on Nepal. But Nepal is suffering due to lack of cooking gas, petrol, medicines and other items of daily need.

Just visiting the border town of Sunauli (Sonauli) is enough to expose the carefully drafted statements of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

151209161546_nepal_india_border_checkpost_at_sonaoli_624x351_manojsingh
On the Indian side of the Sunauli border between Nepal and India, trucks have queued for more than 14 kilometers (Picture: Manoj Singh/BBC)

What kind of neighbors are you? No sooner had we made our constitution than you started to demand an amendment? – Nepali people

In reality this is a controlled blockade, whose remote controller rests at the hands of someone higher up. On the ground here, many games are being played out in that pretext.

Minister Swaraj told the parliament that trucks leaving India have been stopped by Nepal’s Madhesi protestors.

[Related article: Debunking Dr. Karan Singh’s Misinformed Comments on #Nepal at Indian Rajya Sabha]

Although there’s no protest in Sunauli, only a fixed number trucks are allowed to pass every two-three days. The trucks with Nepal’s imports are lined up for more than 14 kilometres on the Indian side and reach much further than the town of Nautanwa. However, buses and other vehicles are passing the border from both sides as usual.

So why are the trucks stopped? To this and every other question, the officers from customs and border security force (SSB) respond that all is because of orders from above.

Whose orders from higher up? They respond to this question with such a laughter, which means- “are you so innocent as to not know what even a five-year-old kid in Nepal knows?”

Cross the border and ask the same question on the Nepali side. It elicits a stunning question, “what kind of neighbors are you?”, as if this journalist is representing the Indian government.

Then they say, “no sooner had we made our constitution, than you started to demand an amendment. When we refused, why did you stop our bread and butter?”

Custom officials claim that these days about 100 trucks are allowed to pass after inspection. But there are several details that go into determining the trucks that will be allowed to enter Nepal.

In Kolhui and Nautanhwa of the Maharajgunj district on the Indian side, LPG (cooking gas) trucks of Nepali and Indian oil corporations have been separated from the long queue of trucks and parked on nearby fields.

151210080205_nepal_sunauli_gorakhpur_624x351_manojkumarsingh_nocredit
LPG tankers taken out of the queue and parked on nearby fields in Nautanhwa (Picture Manoj Singh/BBC)

Trucks carrying medicines are prioritized and allowed to pass, but police stop trucks carrying petrol, diesel and cooking gas. Trucks carrying marble stones, cars and bikes are also being allowed to pass.

The biggest difficulty Nepal is facing is of fuel. And those who come to enjoy the spectacle of trucks queuing on the highway also admit that India wants to bring Nepal down to its knees by shutting down fuel and transportation.

Truck drivers say, police take bribes to select and allow trucks from among the long queue that has been standing for two months. The rates are INR 300 for normal trucks, 500 for big trucks, and more for containers. This is because the importing company in Nepal faces a loss of about INR 13,000 for every additional day a container is standing on the queue.

Is is estimated that goods worth INR 20 billion are queued up on the Indian side on the road of Sunauli border and Nautanhwa railway station.

151116150203_fuel_shortage_nepal_bharatbandhuthapa_624x351_bharatbandhuthapa
People in Nepal queuing up for cooking gas (Picture: Bharat Bandhu Thapa/BBC)

There are attempts to unload goods from the trucks to smaller vehicles and carts in order to take them across the border.

Nepal’s businesses and factories are cancelling their orders because no-one knows when the blockade will end.

When asked about corruption, the police reply that the accusations are unsubstantiated.

The police say, “Our officers are getting calls from ministers and big politicians in the state of UP and the center. They ask us to allow trucks belonging to certain industrialists. When we allow such trucks to get out of the queue and pass because of our officers’ orders, we face these accusations.”

Election Fever Grips Nepal

Days after the government and the protesting United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) struck a crucial deal on Feb 27,2008 (see inside if you haven’t already!) the political parties have started their Constituent Assembly Elections campaigns all over the country. The Maoists party who will be participating in the elections campaign for the first time after a decade long armed conflict remain the centre of attention for Nepalese within and outside the country. In his maiden campaign CPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda appealed to locals of Kirtipur Municipality and surrounding areas of Kathmandu Constituency-10 to cast their votes for himself and his party during the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) election to accomplish the final revolution.

The interest of the international community on the latest developments cannot be ignored either. More so, when is our neighbor India we are talking about.News has it that the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankhar Mukherjee flew to New Delhi night to brief his government on the latest political developments here.He is scheduled to hold discussions with high-ranking Indian government officials on the latest political developments including the situation in the aftermath of signing of the agreement between Nepal government and the agitating Madhesi groups. The Indian Embassy no doubt states that is only a regular meeting.

As some parties are now engaged in erasing graffiti complying with the Election Commission guidelines a trend of quitting the parties is on the rise. Six lawmakers from the Nepali Congress and one from Rastriya Prajatantra Party resigned from their parties and parliament on Monday to join the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF).More here

Whatever the change of events the election fever has caught the nation. And it looks as the elections are finally around the corner ! Continue reading Election Fever Grips Nepal

Govt, UDMF talks inconclusive; Terai enters into 8th day of strike as Kathmandu continues facing acute fuel shortage

Source: Ekantipur

The meeting between the ruling Seven-Party alliance (SPA) and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) held on Tuesday concluded without making any headway to end the crisis gripping the Terai region.

During the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Official residence in Baluwatar, the UDMF leaders put forward their demands which included:
the release of those arrested during the ongoing agitation in the Terai, withdrawal of the “false cases” filed against UDMF activists,
proper treatment for the injured and
an end to the repressive measures used against the agitation.

Emerging from the meeting, UDMF leader Anil Kumar Jha said that he was hopeful about the meeting and the front would resume talks with the government if the government created the proper environment.

Continue reading Govt, UDMF talks inconclusive; Terai enters into 8th day of strike as Kathmandu continues facing acute fuel shortage

The Madhes Report: Police Weakness Responsible For Deaths

An extensive investigation by a judicial commission has found that weakness and ineffectiveness of the police administration in some cases during the Madhes (southern Nepal) agitations in January-February were largely responsible for the deaths of 21 persons (including a security personnel), injury of 1,951 persons (including 230 security personnel), and destruction of properties worth Rs 136.3 million (including personal, governmental and non-governmental). The commission led by Supreme Court justice Khil Raj Regmi submitted its report to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today. Continue reading The Madhes Report: Police Weakness Responsible For Deaths

People Defy Unjustified Banda in Madhes

Update (8 March)

Defiance of MPRF strike continues countrywide: Strike orders issued by the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) have been defied in various districts across the county. However, some districts in eastern Terai remain affected by the strike. In Morang, local administration, with the help of eight parties, civil society and the parties affected by the banda, has opened up shops, markets, factories, transportation services and educational institutions that had been shut down by MPRF, in Biratnagar. (more)

Update More people defy MPRF strike:

Industrialists, businessmen, transport entrepreneurs and workers, rickshaw pullers, ambulance drivers, teachers, students and members of the general public in Biratnagar took to the streets in retaliation against MPRF activists after the latter vandalized even ambulances and cycle rickshaws ferrying patients Wednesday (8 March). The locals fought back against the second day of the MPRF-called indefinite shutdown, which has taken a severe toll on normal life. Locals carrying sticks and swords chased away the MPRF cadres from Bargachhichowk when the latter were forcing locals to down their shutters. Several places in Biratnagar remained tense for hours after frequent clashes between the locals and protestors at Barghachhi and Pipalchowk areas. (more)

Original Post:
People from around Terai (plain parts of Nepal) have started defying unjustified and ill-intended general strike (Banda)

Hundreds of sugarcane growers in Parsa district demonstrate against the indefinite shutdown by the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum yesterday. They said the MPRF workers defied their high-command’s order to allow farmers to transport their produce to factories during the strike. Farmers say their produce could go to waste due to the strike. Pic by Updendra Lamichhane via Kathmandu Post

Once again, the indefinite general strike (banda) called by a dubious organization called Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF) has brought pain in the life of many in Terai. The only intention of MPRF (which is also known as Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF)) is to disrupt the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections. It would be ignorance on our part to believe that the organization is fighting for the rights of Madhesi people. No. Even after major demands of the Madhesi people have been addressed (and are in the process of being so), the organization of Upendra Yadav, has gone into creating havoc in Terai. Look at the demands: resignation of Home Minister and formation of a probe commission to look into the alleged suppression of the recent Madhesi movement. Do these two demands really qualify for a large scale protest like the one that’s being launched in Terai? No. You fulfill these two demands, and Yadav, a pawn of a foreign intelligence agency, will come up with other demands. This is not a political movement for sure and this must be ignored with defiance. People have started doing so. In Nepalgunj, people under the leadership of local business owners and in Jhapa people have gone with their usual routine defying the banda. People have taken out rallies against banda in several parts of Terai. Continue reading People Defy Unjustified Banda in Madhes

Demands of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum: Some Highlights

The Madhesi Janadhakar Forum’s behavior starkly differs from the list of demands they have put forward. The behavior is inflammatory and aims at disrupting communal harmony.

By Chhatra Bahadur

The Prime Ministerial Address of expressing acceptance of federal governance structure intent and earlier arrest of main actors of ‘regressive elements’ will subdue the Madhesi movement has belied the expectations. However, strict enforcement of curfew in some of the affected areas since few days have given a hope that anger will pacify in time. At the same time, widespread arson, destruction of public property and vandalism has continued abetted in some of the affected areas.

The media has hinted that the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) [also known as Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF)], which had initiated the movement, had completely lost control over the movement. It may be true since the movement is becoming increasing violent whereas the Forum has repeatedly pledged peaceful one in interviews and press releases.

In press releases for media consumption, the leaders of MJF has put forward attractive list of carefully worded demands such as: (1) federal democratic republic; (2) proportionate electorate system; (3) autonomy to Madhes region; (4) end of internal colonization; (5) regional autonomous governance system that includes right to self-determination; (6) rights on the land, natural resources and biological diversity of madhes; (7) racial and regional discrimination; (8) provide citizenship certificates to all madhesis without discrimination.

However, their behavior starkly differs from the list of demands they have put forward. The concluding speeches at the end of the demonstrations (aam shabhas) are invariably in Hindi whereas they could have had spoken in native Maithili or Bhojpuri. Maithili are spoken about 13% of the population, Bhojpuri by about 8% as mother language whereas Hindi is spoken merely by 0.47% (as mother tongue) according to the Population Census, 2001. Maithili and Bhojpuri are similar and there is no difficulty in comprehension. The concluding speeches as inflammatory in content aimed at disrupting communal harmony. The speakers often demand compulsory expulsion of people of hill-origin, and return of land to madhesis. Another example would be a slogan: ‘pahadiya chor, desh chod’ meaning (people of hill-origin are thief, leave the land).

The general understanding of madhesi is anyone residing in Terai region of Nepal. And there is impression that this movement involves whole of Terai region encompassing people from all communities. In fact, the MJF have tried to create an impression of including broader participation of communities-based in Terai (by mentioning Dalits, Janjatis, ethnicities, etc in their demands), the reality is completely different. None of Hill-origin Terai communities have participated in this movement because the MJF already excluded these communities by their slogans and labeling them ‘pahadiya’. Maithili communities such as Jha, Mishra (who are considered aboriginal) or other aboriginal communities such as Tharus, Rajbhansis, Dhimals, Jhagars have not shown any inclination to participate in this movement. In fact, Tharu community (6.8% of the total population) has already informed through press-release that it does not consider itself madhesi community. None of the Terai-based Dalit communities such as Mushar, Dom, Chamar, Harijan etc have found reasonable existence within the MJF. In reality, the MJF have considered only the people of Indian-origin from certain communities to be madhesis and have taken pains to exclude others. The central committee membership and its activists belong to Yadav, Mahato, Mehta, Gupta, Kamath, Sah, Das communities. Unfortunately, it has now become community-based politics instead for Terai region. In comparison, the Maoists had more diversified ethical participation than the MJF.

Some of the demands put forward by MJF are justifiable. The PM, in his address, has already accepted in principle that it needs to be addressed. However, it will be addressed by the Constituent Assembly. And his stand is democratically correct because then people would choose their actual representatives who will have legal and moral authority to decide the fate of the nation and the form of governance.

At the same time, some of the demands appear unreasonable and illogical: especially right to self-determination. Autonomy is justifiable but right to self-determination is potentially fatal because it essentially provides an autonomous geographical region a legal and political right to segregate and declare itself as an independent nation if it desires to do so. Geographically, Terai is at advantageous position because of plain and fertile land with maximum of economic activity concentrated in that area. The entire transport network linking whole nation is based in Terai. In other words, the resources of the entire nation are in Terai. And, if it decides to segregate, then rest of Nepal will be landlocked doubly – first by India and then by independent Terai country. Aspirations for autonomous regions with right to self-determination such as Limbuwan, Magarat, etc will have nothing to gain and can merely exist on its own in economically integrated world if Terai segregates. The situation can be most unfortunate with huge disadvantages.

Second fatal demand is the stoppage of internal colonization. MJF has defined internal colonization as a condition wherein people of other communities settling down for residential and/or commercial purposes in Terai. According to MJF, madhes is being made a colony by people of hill-origin exactly as the Britishers had done with India. Thus, MJF is signaling at a condition wherein commercial transactions such as buying land and setting up of businesses will be legally closed to other communities (as in J&K, Arunachal in India) and these activities can be only undertaken by madhesis as defined by MJF.

The talks committee has been formed at the governmental level and it is wonder what it will negotiate. Because of two aforementioned conditions, the talks may not reach any reasonable conclusion.

The genesis of current agitation is outcome of politics-gone-bad. And the blame squarely lies in the shoulder of the Maoists who during their people’s war had sowed the seeds of communal hatred. Many cadres were lured to support the people’s war with a promise of ethical autonomy and political division on the basis of ethnicity.

Madhes Violence: Identity Clash in Nepal

An Analysis by Conflict Study Center Contributors: Dr. Bishnu Pathak and Chitra Niraula (Assisted by Shankar Poudyal, Prem Prasad Pathk, Yahsoda Upreti and Krishna Sundar Thapa)

Introduction Eight people have died and dozens have been injured in the sporadic violence in the eastern Madhes from January 19, 2007 initiated from Lahan Municipality in Siraha district, 400 km to the east of Kathmandu. Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Madhesi People’s Rights Forum) or MJF or MPRF, led by former Maoist leader Upendra Yadav, had called the movement. The key demands of the MJF were federal structure of government with autonomy and proportional election system based on density of caste and ethnicity (more see box). Later, after the Lahan incident three demands have been added: the PM and Maoist Supremo Prachanda should apologize before the Madhesi community; the Home Minister should resign for the conducive environment to hold talks; and provide compensation to the victim’s family. Prachanda has apologized while the PM has not and compensation has been announced one billion Nepalese Currency to each while the Home Minister has not resigned.

The violence has now extended and intensified to the entire eastern and central Madhes in Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Bara and Parsa along with Kapilvastu in the western region. The government has clamped curfew in the sensitive urban centers of these districts. These districts lie on the major East-West Highway where trees have been fallen along the road and traffic have been completely stopped. Even ambulances with patients inside are stopped. Dozens of public and private vehicles including those belonging to UNOHCHR and National Human Rights Commission have been vandalized and many of those torched. Hundreds of passengers have been abandoned along the roads; without food, clothe and shelter. Markets and shops have been vandalized and closed. Because of this, there has been lack of supply of consumer goods and daily necessities and prices have soared. District Administration Offices, District Development Offices, District Courts, District Election Commissions, District Forest Offices, District Agriculture Offices, District Irrigation Offices, Police Posts, etc. have been torched. Pahade-originated government employees have been beaten and have almost gone underground. The Chief District Officers, who are responsible to security of entire concerned districts, are themselves insecure.

The CPN (Maoist) has begged for pardon for killing Ramesh Kumar Mahato, a student of Grade 10 and the government along with the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) has invited the MJF to hold talks. But none of the political party leaders and Parliamentarians of the Madhes have dared to visit violence areas. MJF has called for dignified and peaceful movement for Madhesi rights, which has turned violent. The incidences show that the movement has strayed beyond their call or the movement is without leadership. Due to which loss of private and public property is intensifying day by day. Demonstrators attack some FM stations including media person of Bara, Parsa and Rautahat district (central Madhes). Some of the journalists as they received life threat, left trouble districts. As a result, 12 local papers are closed and general people are being deprived to have right to information.

Background of violence

MJF cadres were campaigning against the detention of 28 MJF leaders in Kathmandu, who were arrested by police after burning the Interim Constitution (IC) the day after it was proclaimed. The MJF cadres had called for strike in the Madhes for their immediate release. From them, 14 were issued warrant to detain for 10 days on the charges of public crime. On the fourth day of the proclamation, MJF called for Madhes strike. CPN (Maoist) had organized a central training (first-ever publicly known) to its cadres at Chitawan in the Central Region. Around 80 MJF cadres were burning tyres on the highway and the mini-buses, with Maoist flag fluttering in the wind, carrying participants to training from Mechi-Koshi Zone escorted by police were stopped at Lahan. The escorting police backed and the Maoist and MJF cadres started tussle. During that time, a gun was fired to the mass by Siyaram Thakur (as reported in Media), which hit Ramesh lethally and died at spot. Police took him into custody. The tension heightened and vandalism took over; 17 vehicles were torched . Curfew was clamped the very day.

Several MJF cadres had cordoned the dead body of Ramesh in the evening; all of a sudden Maoist cadres arrived there in two trucks, one jeep and two dozen bikes and seized the body. They brought his family members and cremated his body. On January 22, 2007, MJF cadres organized a campaign, during which a police post was vandalized. Two policemen were wounded by bullets and then opened fire on the crowd; two bystanders were shot and died instantly and 3 out of 12 severely injured airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment died. After this, the movement spread like a prairie fire within Siraha and to the neighboring districts and turned violent. Violence reigned in all the highway and roadways including urban areas of the seven districts of the eastern and central Madhes. Kudrat Ali, central member of Ekata Parishad led by Nir Sumsher Rana, who was a minister during King’s reign, led the violent movement in Siraha and Saptari districts. Continue reading Madhes Violence: Identity Clash in Nepal

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.

Terai News: Lamas Looted, Meetings in Kathmandu, Threat to Journalist

Several buses carrying passengers and escorted by Armed Police Force were attacked yesterday night in front of Chinimill area in Birgunj. Around 29 buses had left the town for Kathmandu at 11 PM. Around 11:20 PM scoundrels attacked the vehicles, smashed wind glasses, and looted the books, clothes, and other belongings of Buddhist monks (Lamas). Attackers, suspected activists of Madheshi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF), looted belongings of Lamas who were returning from Bodh Gaya, India. 43 Lamas were traveling. In the photo above, a Lama shows a book. He said that books like this one were looted. All pics by Subodh Singh Continue reading Terai News: Lamas Looted, Meetings in Kathmandu, Threat to Journalist