MJF, Tharus ready with protest programmes

KATHMANDU: The Madheshi Janadhikar Forum Nepal and Tharu organisations today announced their respective struggle plans to have their demands met by the government.

In separate press conferences, the organisations said the government has been ignoring their demands.

The MJF Nepal has claimed that they were forced to begin the second phase of their movement because the eight-point agreement with the government signed by the Joint Democratic Madheshi Front and a 22-point agreement signed with the MJF Nepal earlier have been ignored.

The MJF Nepal has announced a Tarai/Madhesh shutdown on April 8 and 9.

Their other plans include holding protest meets at major places of election constituencies including the district headquarters from March 18-22, organising torch rallies at the district headquarters on March 25 and April 4 and 7, "lathi" rallies at the district headquarters on March 27, demonstrations with black flags demanding the resignation of the government on March 29, bicycle and motorbike rallies on March 31, corner meetings at different places including the district headquarters on April 2 and the district administration office gherao on April 6.

Addressing the press conference at its new party office in Balkumari, Lalitpur, MJF president Upendra Yadav said the parties in the government were against federalism and republic and are hatching conspiracies to sabotage the peace process.

"We are against the 'brief constitution,' while a proper constitution should be drafted on time," he said, adding that there is, however, little possibility of a timely statute.

Five different Tharu organisations including the umbrella one, the Tharu Welfare Society (TWS), have announced a Tharuhat Tarai bandh on March 14. They are demanding multi states in the Tarai.

According to Raj Kumar Lekhi, general secretary of TWF, the Tharu communities were against one or two states in the Tarai where around a dozen indigenous nationalities live.

"When hilly regions can have 12 states, why will the Tarai that has a vast population have only two states?" Lekhi questioned. The organisations supporting the cause are sister organisations of almost all the major political parties -- the Nepal Loktantrik Tharu Sangh, Nepal Swoshashit Tharu Sangh, Rastriya Prajatantrik Tharu Sangh and Loktantrik Tharu Sangh (Samajbadi).

They have also expressed solidarity with a bandh called by the Tamsaling Nepal National Party in Makwanpur, Chitwan and Dhading on March 14 demanding a unified Tamsaling.

Lekhi also clarified that due to the activities of some so-called Tharu leaders, people may have felt that Tharu communities were for one or two states in the Tarai.

"We want to clarify that we are not for one or two states in the Tarai," he said.