No relevance of talks now, says UDMF
Kathmandu, November 2
The United Democratic Madhesi Front which has been blockading border, particularly the Birgunj-Raxaul entry point for weeks, today said there was no relevance of holding talks with the government.
The UDMF response came after police cracked down on protesters at the Birgunj-Raxaul border and the administration clamped curfew after police firing resulted in the death of an Indian citizen.
Hridayesh Tripathi, Vice-chair of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party said the environment for resolving issues raised by protesting parties was gradually building, but the government had spoilt it with its action at the Birgunj-Raxaul border entry point today. He said the government would now be solely responsible for the consequences.
Tripathi said the act of clamping curfew in Birgunj had also spoilt the environment.
He said he had talked to government representatives including UCPN-M Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who heads a high level political mechanism, but he could not prevent things from deteriorating today.
Talks between government negotiators and UDMF representatives yesterday were termed positive as government negotiators told the protesting parties that the government was positive about amending the constitution to address their grievances regarding provincial boundaries on the basis of political understanding.
Tripathi said the government was staging a drama of talks. It had, in fact, been preparing to mobilise the army and activate the Armed Police Force and expand the prohibited areas to foil the movement of Madhesis and Tharus.
He said the government did not appear serious about negotiations and only used talks as a strategy to crackdown on the agitating forces.
We condemn the government’s conspiracy to foil the dialogue,” read a release issued by UDMF at a press conference here today jointly signed by Tripathi, Karna, Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Vice Chair Lalbabu Raut, senior leader of Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party-Nepal Ram Naresh Ray and Chair of National Muslim Struggle Coalition Samim Ansari.
The front said in its release that the government’s crackdown on Madhesi forces had ended the relevance of talks. “Therefore, we urge the government to act responsibly to prepare conducive grounds for talks,” the front added in its release.
When asked if the death of an Indian citizen in today’s police firing was evidence that the movement in Madhes was being infiltrated by Indians, Tripathi said there was one Indian citizen who was martyred in the 2006 popular movement too.
UDMF negotiator Laxman Lal Karna said often the government had imposed curfew to fire at protesters indiscriminately and the curfew in Bara today could also be used as a pretext for such action.
Karna said since there was open border between the two countries, people’s movement was not restricted.
“Should the police kill an Indian citizen if he/she comes on this side of the border,” Karna wondered. He said today’s incident had further angered the Madhesis and it could lead to ethnic tension in the country.