JTMM Goit Interview
Both Nepal and India have colonized Tarai, Goit
Jay Krishna Goit, President, All Tarai Liberation Front
Goit: Clearly, no peaceful solutions for the Tarai problems were sought before taking up the arms. When we went on war against the State then the Maoists’ were on their peoples’ revolt. We tried to convince the Maoists first of our demands but they tried to stop us from using weapons, since then we are on war against the Maoists as well. Later, the Maoists joined the peace process, we also made our efforts to make our vices heard peacefully, yet they declared a full fledged war on us on February 13, 2007. We were forced to take up weapons since then. That’s it.
Q. You said that you were forced to take up weapons, the Maoists too were organized outfits with their arms equipped militias yet they became a part of the peace process? Similarly, can’t you become a part of the peace process and forward you demands?
It is not a war for a short duration. We want total solution. We have been time and again demanding for UN mediated talks with the Government, unfortunately, we have been continuously ignored. The government as and when calls for a dialogue on the other hand is also resorting to repressive measures against us. Thus the call for dialogue itself has become a mode of repression and deceit. I must tell you that I have not received a formal letter as such as yet from the government for a dialogue.
Q. You are still waiting for such a letter then?
We are ready to be a part of the UN mediated talks with the government.
Q. Once you favored Round Table Meeting to build a new Nepal?
No…no not for Nepal. It is exclusively for the Tarai. I had asked for such a meeting between the agitating Tarai based political parties, civil society groups form Tarai, individuals from the Tarai, finally our goal is to make an interim government which will then hold the election to CA in the Tarai thereby drafting an entirely new constitution for the Tarai only. The Tarai citizens will then rule over themselves. Nepal does not hold the morale to rule over Tarai. So what for I would call round table meeting for Nepal? That is the problem of Nepalese and perhaps they will do that.
Q. You say that you have been fighting for the liberation of Tarai, there is a large section of the Nepali population living there and they call themselves citizens of Tarai. Is it that abducting and killing people from a community liberate the Tarai?
Nepali community are the migrants in Tarai. Since 1951, the Nepal government in a planned manner aided Nepali people to migrate into the Tarai. The huge influx of Nepali community migrating into the Tarai from the Hills affected the social, linguistic and economic activities there of the local population. That is why primarily we started the campaign to whip off the Nepali community (Pahadiyas) from the Tarai.
Q. Then, this should mean that the Nepali people cannot live in the Tarai?
No! They can’t. If they want to, then they must take due permission from the government of Tarai. We will later issue work permit for them.
Q. People belonging to the same country cannot live in the Tarai, what is this confusion?
In my opinion, Tarai and Nepal they are not the same country. Tarai is an independent country. Nepal does not have the right to rule over Tarai. Our revolt will continue until liberating the Tarai, until we completely whip off the Nepali community from the Tarai. What a pity that the genuine citizens of Tarai own less than 30 % of land in the Tarai?
Q. You were once a Maoists’ cadre; you could not even continue being a Maoist, you quit the party, why?
I did not leave the party; I was rather sacked by the party. I forwarded my plans for liberating the Tarai. They objected to my view points, they then ousted me form the Tarai Liberating Front (Maoists’ affiliate).
Q Prime Minister Koirala once said if India really wanted, the Tarai problems will be solved in minutes? What say you?
I can only say that it was Koiralas’ paranoia. The meaning underneath his words is that we are being manipulated by India.
Look, in 1945 November 7, Nepal, India and the British regiment singed an agreement, since then India continuously increased the number of Nepali citizens in the Gorkha Regiment. British-India virtually did not allow the Tarai citizens to join the army. Independent India too did not create opportunities for the Tarai citizens. In the Indian Army citizens from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other parts are recruited in the Army but not from Tarai. After India got its independence, it made various treaties with Nepal, namely Koshi Treaty, Gandak Treaty which allowed them to take a major portion of water to irrigate their lands, yet the Tarai gets merely 18% of the total water flowing through its own territory. Nepali government has handed-over all the water resources to India. India in turn has been constructing dams illegally along the border and has controlled the flow of water in its territory which in turn inundates the lands of Tarai. Rasiyawal, Khurdalotan, Laxmanpur dams along the border create havoc in the Tarai side during the monsoon. They are to construct 54 more dams along the border. And India is illegally occupying our lands, Susta is just an example of that, for example. In this way both India and Nepal, have colonized the Tarai.
(Based on the recent Interview by Avenues Television, Nepal)
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