Big III, UDMF to continue parleys

Kathmandu, October 7

Talks between the negotiators of the three major parties — the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML, the Unified CPN-Maoist — and the protesting United Democratic Madhesi Front ended inconclusively today. Both sides will hold another round of talks on Friday.

UDMF negotiators told the three parties that they had to meet all five conditions for formal talks and should also come up with a clear proposal on how they wanted to resolve the issues of provincial boundaries, according to UDMF negotiator Ram Naresh Ray.

Negotiators representing the three parties asked the UDMF negotiators to withdraw their blockade of entry points on the Nepal-India border to which the UDMF negotiators said that they would not do so until a political settlement on contentious issues was reached. “We were compelled to resort to extreme measure of   blockading the border entry points because the government did not care to talk to us even after 45 days of protest,” said UDMF negotiator Laxman Lal Karna, who is also the co-chair of Sadbhawana Party.

He said the UDMF would withdraw the blockade the moment parties reached a political solution.

Ray said Madhesi people supporting the UDMF’s ongoing agitation wanted to win the final battle for their rights and unless parties reached a solution, withdrawing extreme measures of protest would not be possible.

Karna said the UDMF negotiators told the three parties that their major concern was the boundaries of provinces and the three parties had to try to resolve the issue.

UDMF negotiators told the three parties that the people of Madhes, who were fighting a hard battle for their rights, would not accept any deal that would not resolve the boundary issues.

UCPN-M negotiator Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the UDMF negotiators reiterated that they would not accept the three parties’ proposal to settle boundary issues through a federal commission. ‘However, we requested them to withdraw their blockade telling them that the disruption on the border is creating humanitarian crisis in the country and has damaged Nepal-India relations,” he added. Shrestha said the government had already met some of the demands of the protesting parties but had not yet taken a decision on some other demands. He said the talks team would meet top leaders of the three parties tomorrow and ask them to take necessary decisions to meet the protesting parties’ conditions for formal talks.

UDMF negotiators also asked the three parties to take decisions quickly so that they could hold formal talks on the constitutional issues.

Protesters’ riders for formal talks

• Compensation for the families of those killed in Tarai clashes. The government has already announced one million rupees for the victims’ kin

• Free treatment for those injured during the protests. The government has already acceded to the demand

• Declare those killed during the protests as martyrs

• Withdraw decision to declare some areas in some Tarai districts as riot-hit or prohibited areas

•  Form a probe commission to investigate into the use of force during the protest