Monday, August 15, 2022

Madhesi agitation became futile due to India’s policy change: Oli

By Anil Giri
Kathmandu, April 7 (IANS)
Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has said the agitation by Madhesis became futile after India changed its policy.

Presenting a 12-page political document during the ongoing CPN-UML party politburo meeting, Oli — who is also chairman of CPN-UML, the second largest party in parliament — claimed that India resiled from supporting the Madhesi movement following increasing international criticism during the unofficial blockade of supplies to Nepal.

The international community was critical of India’s approach to Nepal and put pressure on it, Oli said in his document.

“Then India changed its policy. It could not sustain backing the Madhesis further,” he said.

Expressing displeasure over the content of the new Constitution, which was promulgated in September 2015, Madhesi political parties launched an agitation in which at least 59 people were killed and a large number injured.

The violent protests in the southern plains and along the Nepal-India border hit supplies of fuel, essential commodities and other items from India.

However, without any political agreement, the blockade ended in February. But the political situation has not improved and there has not been any discussion between the agitating Madhesis and the government.

The Madhesis have warned that they will launch a fresh agitation from May.

Meanwhile, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned that Nepal was likely to witness fresh turmoil if the dissatisfaction over the Constitution is not addressed.

Oli, who is known for his ultra-nationalist stand, criticised India’s remarks on the discontent over the new Constitution.

India has been saying that there should be negotiations between the agitating parties and the government to resolve the political standoff.

The border blockade has badly affected Nepal’s economy and it will take years to recover, Oli said.

The blockade was sudden, altogether inappropriate and against the century-old bilateral ties which was also against the UN and Saarc charters, he said.

“We can consider suggestions from friendly nations but we will not accept intervention and unnecessary concern in our internal matter,” Oli said.

Criticising the Madhesi political parties, he said: “They are still hatching a conspiracy to split the plains and hilly areas, which is altogether inappropriate and not acceptable at any cost.”

Oli said the government will launch several developmental programmes in the Terai-Madhes region to uplift the economic and social status of the people.

One key project is the installation of tube-wells in 22 districts.

The government has allocated over NRs.25 billion (Indian Rs.15 billion) for the tube-well project, the east-west railway, construction of postal highway and two international airports in the Terai.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at [email protected])

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