Terai Crisis: Sitaula issues fresh appeal for dialogue

MJF demands Sitaula’s resignation

Kathmandu, January 26:

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula today once again issued an appeal for talks to Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (TJAF) and Terai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (TJMM). He issued the appeal while talking to reporters in the capital.

Saying that the first and foremost task of the government was to fight anarchy and lawlessness, Sitaula warned the perpetrators of the anarchy in Terai that “violent activities will not be excused.”

Drawing attention to the need to push forth one’s demands in a peaceful manner, Sitaula alleged that the demonstrations had the participation of those representing regressive elements.

He was, however, silent on the demand from TJMM and MJAF that any talks on the resolution of the latest crisis should begin with his resignation.

The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) today said it would not sit for dialogue with the government unless Sitaula resigned from his post by taking moral responsibility for the deaths of five MJF cadres.

“He (the home minister) must take the moral responsibility for the killings of our cadres in the Terai. We strongly believe that the home minister’s resignation would create a conducive environment for dialogue,” MJF vice-president Kishor Kumar Biswas told an interaction here today.

He also demanded that the government address the Terai issue immediately to “avert any unfortunate circumstances” and suggested amendments in the interim constitution. Dismissing accusations (coming from the CPN-Maoist and other political outfits) on MJF of being orchestrated by the palace and Hindu fundamentalists, Biswas labelled the eight-parties as royalists. “They (eight parties) are royalists since they have not been able to declare Nepal a republic,” he added.

A statement issued by MJF later today lambasted the Maoists for trying to fuel the Terai movement by trying to convert the genuine Terai movement into a communal riot.

Jitendra Dev, central committee member of CPN-UML, asked the eight-parties to call an eight-party meeting immediately to discuss the Terai issue to prevent the situation from getting worse. “If this (Terai issue) is not addressed on time, this can even disintegrate the country,” he warned. Ruling out claims that the Terai movement was influenced by royalists, he wondered that when ninety per cent of the Madhesis were in favour of a republican set-up, how could they be royalists.