UDMF yet to decide on lifting border blockade: Thakur

Kathmandu, January 30

Chairperson of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Mahantha Thakur today said the United Democratic Madhesi Front had not yet decided to lift its blockade of the border entry points and media reports to the contrary were mere speculation.

“Some news reports stated that border blockade would end after Monday. They are hypothetical. We will take a call on this in the next meeting of the UDMF,” he said at an interaction organised by Reporters Club. “If the UDMF decides not to withdraw border blockade in the next meeting, then the blockade would continue, he added.

He said the agitation could go on for years if the government ignored the concerns of the agitating forces. “It will all depend on the state how long it wants us to prolong our agitation. If our concerns are not addressed, our agitation could prolong for years. We were on the street for four years against the monarchy,” Thakur added.

When pointed out that the UDMF might be pressured by India to lift its blockade, as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was preparing to visit India, Thakur said agitating forces were under pressure from the people of Madhes to continue their agitation till their concerns were addressed.

“We are fighting for equality and autonomy,” he said and added that the struggle of Madhesi people would continue till their rights were ensured.

Representatives of Federal Inclusive Madhesi Alliance held talks with Thakur and urged him to play a role in forming a grand alliance of Madhesi forces, said Keshav Jha, spokesperson for National Madhes Socialist Party, a constituent of FIMA.

Jha said although some leaders associated with the UDMF wanted to expand the Federal Alliance, FIMA constituents want to be part of the UDMF, as both these forces were steering agitation in Madhes. Jha said the Janajati constituents of the Federal Alliance were not agitating and even the Tharu forces did not intensify their stir in Tharu dominated areas after Kaiali incident, and therefore, Madhesi forces should have their own front to intensify their agitation in their areas. Jha said FIMA representatives told Thakur that they wanted to be part of the UDMF and not the Federal Alliance.