Madhesi front leaders divided on withdrawing border blockade

Kathmandu, January 27

All the constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front want to electrify their movement to force the major parties to accept their demands, but they are divided on whether they should continue their sit-in at the Birgunj-Raxaul border entry point.

Mahendra Ray Yadav, chairperson, Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal, believes that the front should either stage sit-in at all the border entry points or withdraw the border blockade at Birgunj-Raxaul entry point, the only entry point the UDMF is staging a sit-in.

He, however, said the constituents of the UDMF would abide by the collective decision of the front on the future programmes of agitation.

Yadav-led TMSP-N, the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and the Sadbhawana Party are the constituents of the front.

“We will review our strategies but we will not postpone or withdraw our agitation unless our rights are ensured in the constitution,” Yadav said and added that the Madhesis and marginalised communities should continue their crusade even if it turns into a long fight for rights.

Sadbhawana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato said Madhesi people wanted to continue all their programmes of agitation, including sit-in at border entry point as this was ‘a now or never battle’ for them but any decision about the change in the forms of protest would be taken collectively by the UDMF.

“The UDMF may discuss changing the forms of protest, but it cannot abandon the agitation,” Mahato added.

General Secretary of TMDP Sarvendranath Shukla, however, said lack of seriousness on the part of the government after the passage of two constitutional amendments and killings of protesters in Rangeli and Dainiya by the police made it difficult for the UDMF to withdraw its border blockade.

“Given the acute shortage of fuel and other stuffs, we were mulling over changes in the form of our protests, including lifting of blockade, but the passage of bill and killings made us think that lifting blockade might not be possible,” Shukla added.

Shukla said if the major parties agreed to address other issues, including revision in the provincial boundaries, citizenship and inclusion in a time bound and credible manner, then the UDMF might withdraw the blockade of border entry points.

Co-chair of FSF-N Rajendra Shrestha said those who were thinking that the UDMF might withdraw its border blockade were under false impression. “Two amendments made to the constitution do not address any of our demands.

The new amendment further complicated the delineation of electoral districts. This means we will further intensify our agitation,” he added.