THT 10 YEARS AGO: No headway in govt-UDF talks

Kathmandu, February 22, 2008

The much-awaited formal talks between Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and leaders of the United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF) failed; the UMDF leaders stuck to their one Madhes, one pradhes demand.

The Madhesi leaders who spoke to the media at the end of a long meeting with the PM at Baluwatar said that they would not submit the closed list of candidates for the proportional system of election on February 24, the new date set by the Election Commission at the government’s request. “Today’s talks failed to make any headway as the government could not understand the feeling and sentiments of the Madhesi people,” Upendra Yadav, coordinator of the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum and one of the prominent leaders of the UMDF, told the media persons.

He said they held talks only with CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal who refused to concede their demand. Asked whether they would submit the closed list of candidates for PR system at the Election Commission on Sunday, Yadav said, “That is not our cup of tea.” He said, “We are already out of the election process”.

Another leader Hr idayesh Tripathi of the Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party said they had expected “theoretical commitment” from the government on one Madhes, one Pradesh so that the Madhesi people would not have to face regional discrimination even after the CA polls. He also said it would be impossible to hold election in the Tarai in the given context.

60 hurt in clashes in Rautahat, Dhanusha

Rautahat, February 22, 2008

Sixty persons, including five policemen and four journalists, were injured in clashes between activists of the United Madhes Democratic Front (UMDF) and police in Rautahat district and Janakpurdham of Dhanusha district today, the 10th day of the Tarai bandh called by the UMDF.

UMDF activists pelted a helicopter carrying poll materials with stones as it landed in Rautahat. The helicopter took off immediately. Five policemen and 35 agitators were hurt in an ensuing clash. Locals alleged that police did not even spare those people who were not involved in the clash.

Journalist Shailendra Jha alleged that police dragged out his nine-year-old son from the verandah of his house and beat him mercilessly. Rautahat deputy superintendent of police Ramesh Shrestha said police resorted to baton-charge after agitators pelted them with stones, adding that police did not beat up innocent civilians.

In Dhanusha district, 20 persons, including four journalists, were hurt in clashes between agitators and police at the Janakpurdham municipality area. Curfew imposed in Biratnagar at 5 pm yesterday continued while agitators there torched an effigy of PM Girija Prasad Koirala and hurled stones at 17 tankers that were bringing in petroleum products from Jogbani.