UDMF, UML blame each other for Rangeli

Kathmandu, January 22

Lawmakers of the United Democratic Madhesi Front and the ruling CPN-UML today blamed each other for the incident that led to killings in Rangeli, Morang, yesterday. Lawmakers of the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress, however, blamed the government for the incident.

Addressing the Parliament as soon as the meeting began today, Co-Chairman of Sadbhawana Party Laxman Lal Karna said the UDMF would not sit for talks if the government continued killing people staging peaceful protests. He alleged that cadres of Youth Association Nepal attacked his party’s spokesperson with khukuri yesterday.

Karna said whenever talks took a decisive turn, government suppressed the agitation, be it in Birgunj, Saptari or Rangeli. He said the amendment bill was being forwarded without ensuring the rights of the Madhesis, Tharus and other indigenous people.

“Since the major parties were in a mood to pass the bill without addressing the demands of the agitating parties, we boycott this meeting,” Karna said before leaving the Parliament, along with Tharuhat Tarai Party lawmakers.

UML lawmaker Yagya Raj Sunuwar alleged that protesters armed with spears and guns disrupted the programme though the organisers had changed the venue after consulting the UDMF leaders. He and other UML lawmakers, Chudamani BK and Jayanti Rai, said it was not fair to prohibit parties from organising peaceful function.

NC lawmaker Mahendra Yadav, however, said such a function should not have been organised, as parties had announced strike. He added that the government should have used water cannon and lathi-charge, instead of opening fire. He said the Parliament should direct the government not to use force against agitators.

Nepal Sadbhawana Party lawmaker Dimple Kumari Jha also boycotted today’s meeting to protest the Rangeli incident.

Unified CPN-Maoist lawmaker Shyam Shrestha, meanwhile, blamed both the government and the agitating UDMF for the Rangeli incident. He urged the government to conduct an independent probe into the incident.