Keep on talking

January 2, 2009 at 6:59 am 1 comment

Keep on talking
Dialogue is the best way to resolve any problem in a democratic setup, but the ruling elite has always been talking to the armed groups in Madhesh on a piecemeal basis. They negotiate with some of them and ignore the rest. This has been the policy of all successive governments. This type of policy is not working. There has been no change in the mindset of the government. Madhesh has been ignored for a long time. Even after the advent of democracy and the Jana Andolan, Madhesh and Madheshis have not been given proper attention. This is the bitter fact.We all know that there was no representation from the Madheshi community in the high-level commission constituted under the chairmanship of former judge Krishna Jung Rayamajhi. No Madheshi media person was appointed to the information commission. This is proof that the Madheshi community has been disregarded time and again. The eight-point agreement signed between the government and the United Democratic Madheshi Front before the Constituent Assembly (CA) election is also in the doldrums.

Consequently, major Madheshi political parties have been threatening the government time and again, but it is paying no proper attention to their genuine demands. The national working committee of the Sadbhavana Party led by Rajendra Mahato took a major decision at its Janakpur convention last month that it would quit the government if the eight-point agreement was not implemented. Likewise, the Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) and the Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party are also in favour of a third Madheshi movement. They have been voicing their dissatisfaction in the public media.

In this political scenario, it has become pertinent to hold a fruitful dialogue with the disgruntled Madheshi groups and implement the eight-point agreement as soon as possible. Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Janardan Sharma’s recent move in this direction is a welcome gesture. At least he has done his level best by personally contacting five of the agitating underground armed groups and talking with some of them. But he failed to hold talks with some of the major ones. He dared to go to their dwelling places and talk informally. He held a face-to-face dialogue with Bibas Bidrohi, spokesperson of the Madhesh Rastriya Janatantrik Party (MRJP). The MRJP was formed a few weeks ago with representatives from five underground Tarai outfits — Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) led by Ranvir Singh, Samyukta JTMM and Madhesh Janatantrik Party. Bidrohi’s positive remarks have already come in the media.

The minister has also met with leader of the Madheshi Virus Killer (MVK), Jay Prakash Yadav, and the Tarai Janatantrik Party. He has also directed security personnel to stop offensive actions against the agitating armed groups. Consequently, the MVK declared a unilateral ceasefire. Minister Sharma also met with Anurag, spokesman of the Samyukta Janakranti Party, and the much talked about Jwala Singh who leads 15 Tarai armed groups. He is also willing to hold talks with Jaya Krishna Goit, co-ordinator of the Akhil Tarai Mukti Morcha. Spokesman of the Samyukta JTMM, Kautilya Sharma, is also in favour of fruitful talks. However, Shiva, central member of the Tarai Cobra, is satisfied with the coordinator of the government talks team, but he has rejected the other two members and will not negotiate with them.

Human rights violationsThe Hetauda office of the human rights organization Him Rights has released a report revealing that 100 people have been murdered by armed groups in the eastern and central Tarai since May 2008. During the same period, 126 persons have been abducted and 77 cases of bomb explosions have been recorded. The armed groups appear to be extremely active these days. Abductions and extortions are rampant in the entire Madhesh.

Minister of Local Development and member of the government talks team Ram Chandra Jha said in Malangawa on Nov. 20 that the government would hold formal talks with the Tarai outfits soon. According to Minister Jha, the government talks team sought their views on national integrity, federalism and statute drafting roles and the new government formed in the changed political scenario. He added that he was ready to resign from the talks team if the need arose.

The crux of the conflict needs to be addressed soon. The exploitation and marginalization of the Madheshi community must be addressed in a systematic manner. Richard Bennet, head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal, said on Nov. 21 that the root causes of the 10-year-long conflict have not been addressed yet. They include lack of access to resources, lack of inclusion and lack of social and cultural rights. He added that there had been some progress, but some things have not improved as much as they should. He is perfectly correct in his remark.

We condemn the violence committed by the armed groups. We also criticize it from the standpoint of human rights. At the same time, we condemn equally the activities committed by the security forces in the name of law and order. Violence begets violence. Hatred cannot be overcome by hatred. It can be overcome only by love. Every excess committed by the security forces will intensify the wrath of the Madheshi community. This is a political problem, and it will be solved only by political means and not by force.

Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam always threatens the armed group which is neither good for him nor the state. He should bear in mind that despite his frequent threats and warnings, the armed group have turned up their violent activities dramatically. They are murdering innocent people. They are kidnapping government officials and business persons for ransom. Ordinary people are being targeted everyday. Murder and robbery are the burning problems in Madhesh. The perpetrators may be political activists or criminals, but the government should distinguish between the two. The government should also take into confidence Madheshi leaders and the civil society for a peaceful solution to this problem.

Some of the armed outfits, including the Samyukta JTMM led by Pawan, have come forward to talk with the government talks team. The talks team has already held a dialogue with the MVK. This is a good start. The international community should also put pressure on the government to negotiate with the armed groups in a cordial atmosphere. The OHCHR can play a pivotal role in solving this problem. Only then can human rights violations and impunity be stopped in Madhesh. Otherwise, there is no possible solution to this catastrophe. It is crystal clear that it is a manmade conflict which has been going on for the last two years.

(Rakesh is convener of Madhesh Human Rights Watch.)source::


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Wellwisher  |  January 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    The govt may be in problems to gather JTMM_A…………………………….to………………………JTMM_Z.
    How to hold talk with all of them. Its a big problem.

    The main PROBLEM of Madhesi is they cannot stand united

    See Each Member of SADBHAWANA party is running differnt party,
    I think there are 3-4 Sadbhawana party. Then we have MJF, TMDP,……………………………then JTMM_A………………….to JTMM_Z. Neither non-armed are united nor armed groups
    are united. If they get united then it is good for them as well as
    Govt to hold talks. Worst thing is alll these JTMM are terrorizing
    innocent people mostly Madhesi. That means they are not for Madhesi. They are simply looting and killing in the name of Madhesi.
    I am a madhesi. I support the legitimate demands, but condemn
    killing and looting of innocent people.

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