The Terai Crisis Deepening
NEPAL: IS SITAULA INDISPENSABLE?
The Terai Crisis Deepening
Kathmandu: The question is not that how long the country can sustain the regular bundhs and chukka jams and high way closures, the question that is very important and pertinent is that can a lay man be considered to be an “indispensable” one and for how long?
Terai is boiling once again. The MJF-Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-has once again come to the streets. In the process the MJF cadres have crippled the lives in the entire Terai belt.
The fresh bund that paralysed the entire Terai Monday was called as against what the MJF calls “the apathy of the government towards the problems of the Madhesh”.
The severe impact of the MJF sponsored bundh was seen visibly in town like Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj and Sarlahi and many more places in the western Terai, say reports.
The MJF which was all set to take part in the government negotiation a month back or so simply backed out of the talks when the State refused to sack the Home Minister Sitaula-the first set condition for talks pushed by the MJF.
The state under Prime Minister Koirala concluded that Krishna Prasad Sitaula is a political personality who is “indispensable” for the state and thus once again brought the same ugly political creature to the same post thereby he added fuel to the fire in the entire Terai belt.
In effect, home minister Sitaula should have resigned voluntarily on the count of inefficient handling of the Gaur incident which took thirty plus innocent lives on March 21.
However, that was not forthcoming.
Prime Minister Koirala by getting this Sitaula inducted in the cabinet awarding him the same portfolio indicated the Teraians or say the Madheshis that he will not sack Sitaula come what may.
As if this were not enough to discourage the Madheshis, Prime Minister Koirala even sought the support of the Indian Prime Minister in curbing the violence in Terai.
Its implied meaning would be that Prime Minister Koirala concludes that the Terai unrest has some connections with the criminals across the adjoining borders and that the MJF is in close collaboration with the criminal elements and thus the violence and unrest in Terai.
Perhaps Koirala’s these conclusions would press him to pay a heavy price if he fails to handle the Terai case in an impartial and independent manner.
To recall, the Terai Jan Tantrik Morcha, JTMM, has already declared the entire Terai as a republic. The government so far has not reacted to this declaration.
What would happen if all the scattered Teraians and the political paraphernalia join hands with each other and acquire a rebellion stance with the state much similar to what the Maoists did some twelve years back?
Will such a disturbing stance in Terai in that eventuality be comfortable for Koirala and his cabinet members?
Add to this the grand and the unquestioned sympathies that the Teraians/Madheshis and the Janjatis have begun enjoying from world’s most powerful nations like the EU and the US, to say the least.
The EU, for example, has point blank said in its fresh statement that “The EU welcomes the Government’s efforts to hold a dialogue on all issues raised by the protests of the Madhesis and other minority groups. The EU urges that this should be a comprehensive dialogue in which all representative groups are involved, in line with the commitment in the peace agreement to work for the inclusion of all marginalised and excluded groups”.
More or less the US too has hinted at the same.
The EU more explicitly suggests the government to “hold a dialogue on all issues raised by the protests of the Madhesis and other minority groups”.
The EU statement must come as an eye opener to the government under Koirala.
Seeking the support of Indian establishment to crush the genuine issues raised by Teraians/the Madhesis would definitely send wrong signals to the agitated groups in Terai and its leaders. In such an eventuality, the entire Teraians would not only the sacking of Sitaula but would also be tempted to demand Koirala’s ouster from the cabinet.
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