THT 10 YEARS AGO: 150 hurt in clashes in several districts

Mahottari, February 18, 2008

More than 150 persons were injured in clashes between police and agitators today on the sixth day of the indefinite bandh called by the United Madhes Democratic Front (UMDF). Curfew was clamped in Mahottari, Bara, Parsa and Dhanusha districts, while curfew clamped yesterday in Nepalgunj of Banke district continued. Mahottari’s headquarters Jaleshwor and Dhanusha’s headquarters Janakpur remained tense. More than 100 persons, including agitators and police, were injured during clashes in Mahottari. Twelve policemen were injured after UMDF activists hurled petrol bombs. Curfew was clamped from 6 pm till 4 am tomorrow in wards 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and adjoining areas of Jaleshwor. Five blasts occurred in Jaleshwor while UMDF activists clashed repeatedly with police all day. The bombs did not cause any damage. At Janakichowk and Bhanuchowk in Janakpur of Dhanusha, four persons were injured when police opened fire after agitators hurled petrol bombs at the Janaki police post. Police swung into action when agitators tried

to torch vehicles of the customs office. Dhanusha district administration clamped curfew in Janakpur town area from 7 pm till 5 am tomorrow. Curfew was clamped in Parsa from 3 pm till 4 am tomorrow stretching from the Parsa customs office area till the road leading to Bara’s Gandak region.

Deadlock springs from mistrust

Kathmandu, February 18, 2008

Mistrust is the root cause of the deadlock between the Seven Party Alliance and the agitating Madhesi factions; the United Madhes Democratic Front has said that it wants only autonomous Madhes, not the disintegration of the country. The SPA and the government, however, does not buy this argument. The Prime Minister recently said the demand One Madhes, One Province cannot be met ahead of the Constituent Assembly polls. He said he is against any demand that would undermine national unity and integrity. “By the right to self-determination, we only mean full power of the inhabitants over local resources, right to choose and safeguard our linguistic, cultural and other rights in Madhes,” HridayeshTripathi of newly formed TaraiMadhes Democratic Party said today. “These demands are in conformity with the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Nepal also is a party.” The UN Conventions guarantee the people’s right to self-determination, which does not allow provinces to secede. According to Tripathi, one autonomous Madhes is logical also because of the very geographical nature of the country — Himal being on the upper north, Hills being in the middle and Madhes being on the southern plains. “Mixing hilly and Himalayan regions with Madhes would be unnatural,” said Tripathi.