Talks with Muslims postponed

Kathmandu, March 15:

The talks held here today between the government and the representatives of United Muslim National Struggle Committee (UMNSC) have been postponed till tomorrow to carry out necessary groundwork on the UMNSC’s demand of issuing a separate family law for the Muslims.

Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Janardan Sharma led the government talks team, while Taj Mohammad Miya led the 18-member team of the agitating Muslim community. After about an hour of the talks, both team leaders said the talks were positive and could reach to an agreement tomorrow.

The Muslims yesterday called off their protest programmes, including the valley bandh scheduled for today, after the government assured the Muslim leaders of addressing their demands. The Muslims had started their protests on Thursday, putting forth a five-point charter of demands, including amendment to the interim constitution and other laws to clarify the identity of the community, formation of a National Muslim Commission, conducting a fresh census to ascertain their population and issuing Muslim family law.

Meanwhile, another group of Muslims has expressed its dissatisfaction over the talks and has warned the government of fresh agitation. The members of the group, who reached the talks venue today, said that they would start agitation from March 28 if their 11-point charter of demands was not addressed.

“The talks were held with some persons who have the backing of certain political parties. We don’t agree with them,” said Dr Kamarul Hoda Ansari, co-chairperson of Nepal Muslim Civil Society. They have demanded proportional representation of the Muslim community in the parliament and all other state organs.