MJF discontent haunts coalition

Kathmandu, December 2:

Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) - one of the key allies in the ruling coalition - has urged the government to review the charges leveled against Siya Ram Thakur, a resident of Siraha district.

Ram Shahay Yadav, general secretary, MJF, submitted a memorandum to Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam today, urging him not to allow Thakur

go scot-free.

“We will seek legal action if the government doesn’t rethink its decision against Thakur,” said Yadav. Thakur has been accused of

killing Ramesh Mahato, who got killed on the first day of the Madhes movement in Lahan.

“We will take to the streets if Thakur isn’t punished,” said Laxman Mahato, CA member, MJF, over phone from Lahan.

Meanwhile, Geha Nath Bhandari, Chief District Officer, Siraha, confirmed that the government had indeed dropped charges against Thakur. “It didn’t do a proper study before taking such a hasty decision. The hearing was slated at the Siraha district court on Sunday, but it got postponed after our cadres staged a sit-in,” said CA member Mahato.

The MJF has lined up a host of protest programmes in Saptari and Siraha districts if the government allowed Thakur a reprieve.

“Thakur hasn’t been released yet. The legal procedures are still on,” said CDO Bhandari. Incidentally, Thakur is among the 349 people against whom the government had recently decided to withdraw charges. “We will ascertain the truth behind the controversy. Our coalition partners are privy to this decision. We have dropped against all those, whose names were suggested by our allies,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, government spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communication.

The MJF has also urged the Maoist-led government to implement the common minimum programme and to respect the accord signed with the United Democratic Madhesi Front.

“We will pull out of the coalition if our demands aren’t met,” added Yadav.