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Morcha refuses to call off agitation

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
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2015-12-22-140

Cadre of Madhesi Morcha burnt down this truck in Chanauta, Kapilvastu on Monday night. Photo: Gopal Bhandari

Madhesi Morcha has rejected the government’s three-step roadmap to end the current political crisis.

A meeting of the Morcha in Kathmandu on Tuesday evening decided to continue with protests, dubbing the roadmap as ‘abstract, unclear and incomplete’. Morcha leaders said they would not call off their agitation unless dispute over federal boundaries is resolved.

A cabinet meeting on Sunday had decided to forward the first constitution amendment bill to address two key demands of the Morcha: proportional representation and constituency delineation in proportion to population.

The cabinet had also decided to form an all-party committee to resolve dispute over federal boundaries in three months and add clarity to provisions regarding citizenship.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa informed India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj about the cabinet decision. Hours later, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement welcoming the move and urged ‘all political sides to show maturity and flexibility’.

The MEA also hinted at lifting the three-month-long blockade against Nepal, saying ‘a return to normalcy in Nepal would create a more secure and predictable climate for unimpeded commerce between our two countries’.

But the Morcha refused to withdraw its agitation and reach a deal with the major political parties.

The Morcha has been spearheading an indefinite strike in the Tarai for over the last four months, saying the new constitution is ‘discriminatory’ against Madhesi people. More than 50 people died have died after protests escalated across the Tarai.

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