KATHMANDU: Issuing a five-day ultimatum to the government to address their demands, Indigenous People Mega Front (IPMF) today said that it would begin its first phase of protest programme from December 6 if their demands were not fulfilled within December 4.
The IPMF is an umbrella organisations of various 22 indigenous groups fighting for the rights to janajatis and indigenous people. Dr Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan, secretary, IPMF, said that their protests were aimed at ensuring rights of various janajatis and indigenous people in the new constitution.
As part of their protests decided by the struggle committee of the IPMF, they would impose general strike on December 28 and 29. Just a day prior to the two-day bandh, a torch rally will be organised nationwide. A nationwide chhakajam has been called from 12 am to 1 pm on December 24. Likewise, they will also stage sit-in before Singha Durbar on December 13. The IPMF said that protests are also planned in front of the Constitutional Assembly (CA) at International Convention Centre on the day when the House meeting would be held.
In order to apprise the prime minister and CA chairman of their demands, the indigenous body will also hand over memorandum to them.
Addressing a press conference organised to declare their protest programme, Bhattachan said that oppression and marginalisation largely excluded indigenous people from political representation, decision making level, educational and economic opportunities. He said that their protests would continue until they were bestowed with the rights to self determination and autonomy in the new constitution. The IPMF has asked the government to ensure all the rights enshrined in the International Labour Convention and to develop a mechanism for making meaningful and effective representation of indigenous people in mainstream.
They are pressing the government to end every type of discrimination against them. "The state should ensure special reservation to the cultures and castes that are on the verge of extinction," demanded Bhattachan, adding that the indigenous people should have the rights over natural resources as well. The struggle committee has also demanded for proportional representation while restructuring the state.