Terai leaders warn of further unrest

Kathmandu, January 23:

Leaders representing the Madhesi community today warned that the Terai outburst would continue if the government kept ignoring people’s sentiment and suppressing the Terai movement.

They said that the Lahan incident was spontaneous and ruled out any conspiracy. “The Lahan incident is a result of century-old suppression and unjust attitude of the state towards Madhesis,” CPN-UML leader Raghu Bir Mahaseth told an interaction at the Reporters’ Club today. He said that the Madhesis were fighting for their rights.

Rajendra Mahato of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi), too, ruled out any conspiracy and pointed at the flaws in the interim constitution. “We have been demanding a federal system of governance but the interim constitution failed to address this demand,” Mahato said warning that the Terai movement could even take a “different course” if it is not addressed on time. He, however, said there could be infiltration of reactionary elements in the protests.

Asked to elaborate the “different course”, he warned that the country could even undergo disintegration ‘if this outburst is not addressed on time’. NC leader and Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Mahanta Thakur ruled out any conspiracy in the Lahan incident but said that some faces representing the reactionary forces “could be seen in the incident”.

Rastriya Janashakti Party leader Renu Yadav and Rastriya Prajatantra Party leader Ram Chandra Raya said the Lahan incident was the result of a failure to address the Madhesi issue in the Interim Constitution.

Two MJF activists held, freed

BARA: On the charge of beating up eight District Development Committee staffers on Monday, police on Tuesday morning arrested two persons — district secretary of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) and leader of MJF-affiliated students’ union Rajib Shah — from their respective residences in Kalaiya-5, Bara district. However, they were freed later due to locals’ pressure. Stating that police illegally arrested them, MJF had called a Bara bandh on Tuesday.

Due to the bandh, life was crippled in Bara district headquarters.

The MJF activists also staged a demonstration in Malanga on Tuesday. “Police arrested them on the charge of beating up eight staffers including the Bara LDO Bishnu Prasad Lamichane. However, they were freed later as they were found innocent,” said Bara SP Madhu Prasad Pudasaini. Meanwhile, a report from Kapilvastu said the MJF, Kapilvastu, on Tuesday closed Krishnanagar and Chandrauta bazaars in Kapilvastu to protest the Lahan shootout. — HNS

NUTA’s concern

KATHMANDU: The Nepal University Teachers’ Association (NUTA) has expressed serious concern over recent violent incidents in the Terai region, including the Lahan unrest. Issuing a press release here on Tuesday, NUTA said, “Such activities will benefit only those who are against loktantrik democracy.” Constituent assembly polls should be held on time to discourage such attempts by the supporters of autocratic system, it said. — HNS