Ex-President Yadav stresses resolution of Madhes crisis through democratic process

KATHMANDU: Former President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav opined that the present crisis in Nepal should be resolved through democratic process using the recently promulgated Constitution as a medium.

Referring to the ongoing agitation in Tarai-Madhes region and the border blockade, Dr. Yadav urged all the stakeholders – from the agitating Madhesi parties, major political parties and government to the Legislature-Parliament – to be sensitive and serious towards an immediate resolution of the crisis.

"At present, our society has been divided. We are diverse society and geography," he said, stressing the need for dialogue and democratic process for the conflict resolution.

Mentioning that the country has been suffering for 19 years or so and the political transition has protracted in one way or the other, the former Head of the State said the society was dividing and humanitarian crisis emerged in Nepal owing to the crisis in Madhes.

He was speaking at the launch of Kul Chandra Gautam's book "Lost in Transition: Rebuilding Nepal from the Maoist mayhem and mega earthquake" here in Kathmandu. It was his first public speech after retiring from the Sheetal Niwas as the President in late October.

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"Madhesi people and parties complain that the State has been indifferent towards them," he said, "The State is guardian of all and it should listen to them."

Yadav pointed out that the ongoing agitation had some anomalies and the border blockade was not the right thing to do. "Border should not be obstructed," he said, urging the agitating parties to give up the violence and anarchy and embrace democratic process to get their demands addressed.

Expressing his grief over the missed opportunity to address the concerns of the Madhesi community in the Constitution when it was promulgated, Dr. Yadav, however, said it was his moral responsibility to deliver the Constitution from the sovereign Constituent Assembly on the capacity of the Head of the State and as the representative of three million Nepalis. "I have this pain that the document, however, could not include all (communities and their concerns). But still there is an opportunity."

According to him, he had foreseen a big crisis and tried his best to convince the Constituent Assembly, the government and the political parties to bring back the disgruntled parties that had walked out of the CA even after the copies of Constitution were signed to resolve their concerns, but to no avail.

"The Constitution has some pitfalls. In spite of that it is workable," he stated, suggesting all the stakeholders to resolve the crisis through dialogue and amendment of the Constitution.

Since we have 1800 km long open border and the neighbouring country (India) too has been dragged in the ongoing blockade, he said, the issues should be resolved through what he called micro-diplomacy taking into consideration Nepal's geopolitics, history and other complications.

The former President said he was now more concerned about the implementation of Constitution and safeguarding Nepal's territorial integrity — from Madhes to Himal, democratic system, rule of law, good governance and human rights in practice.

Talking about the impacts of the agitation for over four months in national economy and development as well as growing division in the society, disruption in communal harmony and national unity, he said, "Let's not repeat the mistake now."

He appealed to the political parties and government to give up their arrogance and hauteur, and listen to all dissenting voices in order to resolve the ongoing crisis and prevent Nepal from derailing from the democratic path.

Gautam's book was made public by gifting the official first copy to Dr. Yadav.

Commenting on the book, political scientist Hari Sharma said Gautam's book was a political commentary coupled with the author's experiences. "This book is reflective rather than academic," he stated.