Nepal: 27 Killed and Counting

February 6, 2007 at 1:57 am 3 comments

Nepal: 27 Killed and Counting

Our leaders are failing to address the people’s demands

— Santosh Salik Shah

With nearly two dozen deaths and several hundreds injured, the Terai crisis is on the verge of spilling over into other parts Nepal.

I don’t know why, but the eight-party government is unable to quench the burning flames of the wayward Madhesi uprising. Twenty-two Madhesi and two Indians protesters, as well as three JTMM (Janatantrik Terai Liberation Front, a Maoist splinter group) cadres have been killed. Who is responsible for the killing of these 27 people? Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who heads the eight-party government? Or Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who has failed to “suppress the people’s voices” or stop defiance of state-imposed curfews?

The Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF), which claims to be leader of the Madhesi movement, has laid out three pre-conditions for talks: (1) the resignation of Sitaula, (2) an end to the use of excessive force by the government to suppress the Madhesi movement, and (3) punishment of those guilty of creating the first “martyr” of the Madhesi movement, Ramesh Kumar Mahato, who was reportedly killed by Maoists cadres.

If Koirala is to be blamed for the killings, then he should resign. But we all know he won’t. Because he would never want to see the Maoists’ chairman, Prachanda, become the “de facto” ruler of the country. According to the special power attributed to the prime minister through the recently promulgated, controversial interim constitution, Koirala can’t be forced to quit, as there is no provision for “vote of no confidence” in the legislative parliament. Hence, Koirala himself has said that the prime minister can become a dictator if there are no checks-and-balances in the power structure. This “extraordinary provision” of the temporary constitution was already a subject of debate. The Madhesi people and several other indigenous communities feel that the constitution fails to address their demands.

The interim constitution is mere patchwork meant to address only a few problems of the country. It caters to the needs of the eight-party government. It has made the king impotent, but sovereignty hasn’t been transferred to the Nepali people. The prime minister and the eight-party government enjoy sovereign authority of the state at present, while other political parties, both large and small, as well as the common Nepalese citizenry, are wondering if this is what they longed to achieve when ousting King Gyanendra through April movement.

One wonders what is keeping Koirala from asking Sitaula to quit if that will bring the agitating parties to the table for talks. The MPRF’s two other demands are also legitimate, and easy to fulfill. However, it seems the old tradition continues — our politicians won’t scratch their head or take pains to address problems until they reach disastrous levels. The Madhesi uprising and the failure of the eight-party government to address the problem on time or to find a concrete solution over the past three weeks shows how shortsighted and irresponsible our leaders are. When the whole nation is being covered by the dust of the Terai unrest, it seems the so-called people’s leaders are unable to see even beyond their own noses.

Koirala has seen many ups and downs in his political career, but one can easily see how his leadership has ruined the country. The third generation of Nepalese, to which I belong, grew up listening to stories of his corruption scandals and until last year, we used to crack silly jokes about him. Of course, if Koirala wanted, he could turn this country into Switzerland, which is what every new leader promises here to impress the people. However, the leaders are refraining from adopting a federal governing system like that of Switzerland.

For the JTMM, once an ally of the Maoists’ but now an adversary, it is now their turn to wreck havoc in the country. For the last few days, attacks on police posts have become rampant. Just today, three JTMM cadres were shot dead by an unidentified group in Saptari. The JTMM is following the path of the Maoists into government via insurrection. The Maoists were given 73 seats in the existing legislative-parliament (without having won a single vote) to bring them into the government and end the Maoist insurgency. If that is the way to be heard in this country — where the leaders often turn deaf ears to the people’s demands — perhaps JTMM’s pursuit of regional autonomy and a federal governing system through “terrorist activities” can be justified. After all, the eight-party government just keeps on overlooking the demands of people.

It is clear that if the eight-party government doesn’t persuade the agitating parties to come to the table for talks, then the Madhesi uprising has the dangerous potential to engulf the whole country. If the ruling parties’ leaders fail to realize this, or find a concrete solution to the problem very soon, the increasing unrest in the country will threaten the newly restored democracy.

A “concrete solution” would be to agree to the demands of the agitating parties to amend the interim constitution to include the provisions of regional autonomy and federal republicanism. It’s not such an impossible task. The old assumption that ordinary people normally don’t become “political leaders,” that only extraordinary people with “gifted” qualities have the fortune and qualification to rule the entire nation, just isn’t realistic. Why is it so difficult to agree to amend the interim constitution? What is keeping our “honest” and “selfless” political leaders from transferring sovereign authority to the people? If the Madhesi uprising isn’t relieved soon, we may get some answers.



Entry filed under: Articles.

Nepal rioting threatens political transition Nepal: A New Dawn and Some Scepticism

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Son of Tirhut  |  February 6, 2007 at 3:57 am

    The article seems quite strong. The reason behind this is the Khasiya leaders wish to continue the same old regime throught out the nation. And same principle is followed by the Mr. Prachada also. See these stupids that belongs to JTMM they are fighing with each other, if this continues then definitely the same trend in the madhesh will be continues and that day will be the dasatrous day for Madhesi people.

    Jai Madhesh!!!!!

  • 2. keshav  |  February 6, 2007 at 9:41 am

    the government is not serious to solve the problem. after helding talks between sevem parties for three weeks the came up with two conclusion.
    1 army and cadres of maobadi will be deployed in madhesh. read this with statement of deputy prime minister that maoist has been asked to sove jtmm problel
    2 yesterday the same deputy pm came up with the statement that the still are not sure which group the gov should talk with.

    this government is hatching a conspiracy for ethnic cleansing of madhesi. already so many bhumi purta of terain have become landless in their own land. after some time gov will brand them as biharis. ang who is the natives of mahendra nagar according to gov? the people from pahad who are opposing opposing tooth and nail the demand of increasing parliament seats based on population. so they are the real madhesis who oppose the demand of fixing the seat based on population. they live in terai but spaak against madhesh cause and when we madhesi raise our voice they brand us as communal

  • 3. Ramesh Khanal  |  February 6, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    I think the war is between Maoist leaders and some extremist leaders only. Innocent Teraian people are being killed for their vested interest. They want to make Terai their political stronghold. Terain people are downtrodden since centuries and presently they are struggling for their self respects and rights. I think Pahade people are not against the interest of the working class Teraian people. Look, when blood was collected in Gokarna of Kathmandu to help the victims of violence in Terai, hundreds of Pahade people were hurried up to contribute their blood. How much is the sentiment and love of Nepali people for their Teraian counterparts. We should not kill and die for the benefit of the selfish leaders and political parties. We should be united and fight against them. Are the people of Karnali or Taplejung are against Teraian people? It is the selfish political leaders against whom we should fight. We should not kill each other. If communal war is broken out, who will die? Do sons or daughters of Prachanda or Baburam die? Do the sons and daughters of Goyt and Jwala Singh die? It will be the poor Teraian or Pahade people who will die and their huts will be set fire. We should think about this. We should be able to make our Terain brothers and sisters live happily and freely with their active participation in governance.
    Jai Madhes and Jai Nepal
    Ramesh Khanal Zhapalie
    Lausanne, Switzerland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Celebration of 1,00,000

Madhesi Voice

United We Celebrate

People Celebrating faguwa (Holi), with the fun of music, quite popular among Terai people. Holi is celebrated each year on the eve of falgun purnima Faguwa (Holi) Celebration

Past Posts


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 50 other followers

%d bloggers like this: