Split surfaces in Surkhet agitation

The four major parties have been blamed for driving a wedge in the movement for intact mid-west province

Surkhet, August 16

A dispute has arisen in the agitation launched for the past one week demanding to keep the mid-west undivided, in Surkhet.

After the four major political parties in the district held a rally demanding a seventh province, the row crept in among civil society and other political parties. Due to the same reason, locals led by Civil Society staged a separate rally demanding to keep mid-west intact. Four parties and their activists, however, blocked the street and pressed for a seventh province.

Of the agitators staging the rally, some sought an intact mid-west while some protesters demanded a separate seventh state. Leaders and cadres from NC, UML, UCPN-Maoist and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic staged a joint rally, while other fringe parties and civil society took out a separate rally.

The major parties had demanded the seventh state while civil society, fringe parties, and kin of those killed during the agitation demanded an intact mid-west today.

Civil Society leader Bhadra Bhandari said that leaders from Surkhet had given in to leaders from the far-west.

Mohan Baidhya-led CPN-Maoist Surkhet district in-charge Chakrapani Sharma said that major parties’ call for a seventh state had created a problem.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal central member Mukund Shyam Giri said that though his party was against federalism, an intact mid-west was essential for the region’s development. Stating that the seventh province had no meaning, Sharma accused the major parties of deviating from the people’s sentiments.

Similarly, former Mayor Balaram Sharma reasoned that the four major parties’ modus operandi had caused the problem.

Three persons, Tikaram Gautam, Yam Bahadur BC and Gopalsingh Rajwar were killed during the agitation in Surkhet some days ago. The agitators have put forth a charter of demands including martyr status for those killed and compensation to the deceased’s family, among others.

The separate agitation by the four major political parties today cast a dark shadow over the agitation’s future ushering a schism in the protest.