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Madhesis unveil fresh protests

Monday, January 25th, 2016
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Miffed at the way the Big Thee pushed through the first constitution amendment bill, the agitating Madhesi parties have unveiled a fresh protest program.

On Monday, a meeting of the Madhesi Front, a coalition of four Madhes-based parties, decided that it will carry out a candle light vigil and hold various interaction programs from 27 January to 1 February. The Front said it would unveil more protest programs after further discussion.

A statement issued by the Front is silent about whether sit-ins at Nepal-India checkpoints will continue. But the Front leaders said border protests will go on.

Madhesi parties have been agitating against Nepal’s new constitution since August last year. They have also been organising sit-ins at checkpoints since September, providing a reason for India to cut off the supply of fuel and other essential commodities.

After Nepal passed a resolution in December to amend the constitution and set up an all-party mechanism to redraw federal boundaries, India has eased supply of goods through all checkpoints but the one at Birganj. As the most important trade point remains blocked, the crisis of fuel, cooking gas and other essentials continues unabated.

Leaders of the ruling parties had publicly announced that India would resume supplying materials through Birganj after the amendment to the constitution, which was promulgated just four months ago. But they failed to bring Madhesi dissenters on board before passing the first amendment bill.

India has ‘regarded’ the passing of the bill as a ‘positive development’ but is still “hoping that other outstanding issues will be resolved in a constructive manner.”

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