Fuelling the fire in Terai

Posted by: Indra Dhoj Kshetri

Continued Communal unrest in southern Terai may be a serious indication that how the reactionary forces can fish in the troubled water. Few months back, Nepal’s pro-King and honorary ADC to King Gyanendra Bharat Keshar Singh held a meeting with Indian Hindu Fundas at Gorakhpur. They collectively resolved to launch protests with communal slogans and work for upholding Nepal as HINDU KINGDOM. Immediately, the prelude was observed in western city of Nepalgunj during strike called by Nepal …

Sadvabana Party (Anandidevi). The Party had admitted that unwanted and anarchist mob had infiltrated in the protests organized there. The catastrophe is undergoing in eastern Terai cities since last ten days. As many as a dozen people have been killed in clashes with the police and the unrest seems to complicate more and prolong. What will be the denouement?

Amidst such increasing unrest, one of the constituent of seven Party Alliance Nepal Sadvabana Party (Anandidevi) has withdrawn itself from the government and resolved to join the protests there. Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Hridayesh Tripathy has resigned from the post. With the resignation, the row between the government and the agitating parties in Terai seems to increase. And the situation in Terai is supposed to turn worse in a few days to come.

Doubtless to say, the situation is turning worse in Terai region. It began with the strike in Terai called by Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF). Till those days, the protest has run from the grip of the Forum itself. The Forum leaders have admitted that some unruly and anarchist mob has entered the protests, attempting to make the protests as violent as they could. The situation has turned worse when the protest are supported and actively participated in by the armed groups like two factions of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) which are fighting for “liberation of Terai as an independent state”.

The Terai region shares open border with Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh which are also the poorest states in India. In comparison to the life in those states, life in Nepal’s terai plain is easier. Hence, there have been frequent attempts to acquire Nepali citizenship and settle here by the Indian nationals from those states. Besides, there are some group i.e. Maoists and Naxalites fighting for the liberation of those Indian states as well. Disgusted with the entry of Nepal’s Maoists into mainstream, those forces seem to have been fuelling the violent movement in terai region.

Certainly, such unrests in the small country like Nepal are very serious. They are more serious when they occur during the transition phase as Nepal is undergoing. Whatever their rhetoric, the JTMM factions also don’t seem to fight till the liberation of Terai. Their activities in the past were observed as more criminal than political. Hence, they are less likely to have popular support even from the people of Terai.

However, the demands of other agitating parties e.g. Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) including Nepal Sadvabana Party (Anandidevi) are genuine. Their demands for a federal System, proportional election system and delimitation of electoral constituencies based on population are genuine. The former two are also the demands of many of the indigenous communities in the country. Besides, the latter also can’t be challenged rationally.

Whatsoever the demands and whoever agitating, the communal fire on Terai has to be immediately controlled. The genuine demands have to be addressed immediately. And the government has to furnish solution acceptable to agitating forces as well as all the people of the country. Then only, the reactionary forces, or Hindu Fundas or the separatist forces in India will find little space to play here. Otherwise, Nepal’s transition will prove very painful for the people and devastating for the nation.

Fuelling the fire in Terai was last modified: August 27th, 2007 by Indra Dhoj Kshetri
 

Blog Comments

  1. Sanjib

    Instead of accusing palace, royalists and Hindu fundamentalists, the Government should address the Terai people at the earliest and stop this fire from spreading to unsatiable demands of we all Nepalis. All are waiting in the queue to get their demands fulfilled…Madhesis, Dalits, Kirants, Tharus and a horde of Janajatis…Does the government has capacity to stop all these people? Before this Terai revolution turns into a multi-dimensional (multi-party, multi-ethnic) fire, the solution must be popped in by the eight party and all the responsible citizens.

    We Nepalis not only have herd mentality but a WHIMSICAL MENTALITY and I think we should cash the same psyche into an opportunity. The revolution that sparked off in a whim as a result of long oppression can be extinguished with a CONVINCING ADDRESS from the reluctant government!

  2. forum member

    the palace has limited, if any, influence. take off your panchayat era pahadi nationalism glasses. this is genuine revolution by the people of terai. the arrests of kamal thapa etc is a ploy to trick nepali ppl. if they really wanted to punish royalists, they already have the rayamajhi report. they realized that their allegations of royalist backed unrest wasn’t credible, show the whole orchestration. makune, girija, dhunganas and koiralas, beware. your seats in terai are in danger (unless of course you stick to nominating parliamentarians like panchayat era).

  3. lpk

    As The Economist has garnered so much of information, it is true that Palace is behind all such communal activities, but, Palace will fail. Leadership from Terai districts shall be able to root out the cause, and agreeing AMAR, small fire can be extinguished immediately, else, it will burn down the whole country. Indira Gandhi died on cause of dominating Shikh movement in Punjab, but, they somehow have subsided claiming for independent state, but, Kashmir still is fertile ground for such declarations as Indian Givernment failed to address the issues immediately during 1990s.

  4. Rudra Pandey

    Please read The Economist article:

    A second front
    Jan 25th 2007 | KATHMANDU
    From The Economist print edition

    Ethnic violence threatens Nepal’s new-found peace

    THE peace process in Nepal passed important landmarks this month as former Maoist rebels joined an interim parliament and started putting their guns into storage. Yet even as a final settlement to that insurgency remains distant, the country is faced with another cause of violence: ethnic strife in its southern plains next to India, a region known as the Terai.

    The two conflicts are connected. Ten years of Maoist insurgency have made many Nepalis more assertive and convinced some of the merits of political violence. Also, the peace process will involve a constitutional assembly, for which elections are due in June. The ethnic group known as Madhesis, who dominate the Terai, fear they will be cheated.

    Nepal’s censuses have always underestimated Madhesi numbers. Ethnically and culturally, they are indistinguishable from the Indians across the border. They probably make up more than 40% of the population but are barely represented in the bureaucracy, army or police and their “Nepaliness” is constantly questioned. Ahead of the elections there is a drive to give millions of Madhesis the citizenship they lack, allowing them to vote. But Madhesi politicians complain that constituencies are gerrymandered so that “one hill vote is equal to 20 Terai votes”.

    The Terai is volatile. A breakaway faction of ex-Maoists, the Terai People’s Liberation Front, is waging a violent campaign for independence. In December a campaign for Madhesi rights in the town of Nepalganj turned into communal violence as hill-people sacked and burnt Madhesi businesses in a two-day spree, condoned by the local authorities. This week there were demonstrations, daylong curfews and five deaths in the central Terai after a Maoist shot dead a Madhesi protester.

    Fanning the flames is the monarchy, all-powerful a year ago in what was the world’s only Hindu kingdom, but now at risk of abolition. By sowing communal tension, the palace may hope to postpone the election. Consistent accounts place royal agents in the Terai stirring things up, as well as in India, appealing to religious fanatics by linking the future of Hinduism, Madhesis and the royal family. Hridesh Tripathi, a cabinet minister who leads a Terai-based party, says it is to be expected that the palace “will use all forms of conspiracy”. The Madhesis’ grievances give the plotters some fertile ground.

  5. Amar

    According to the battle rule, you have to hit the opponent when he is weak or where he has the weakest point. If you combine this with popular communist slogan, power comes from struggle or barrel of the gun, you have a winning formula in Nepal. Maosist were following this precept, now Terai basi are following the same thing. I don’t see end to it. Even if we solve this Terai issue, we might have another group following the same formula. Sadly opponents are Nepalese themselves.

    I am not saying whether Terai is right or wrong, I have a feeling that we don’t want to build this country. We are learning things which put us more and more backward, unfortunately.

  6. pawan

    लाज लाग्दैन दोभन, “pawan this time u r so right” भन्नलाई मेरो तीन वटा पोष्टहरु खाएर।

  7. dovan

    pawan , this time u r so right.

    There has been infiltration..but just making the rhetoric of ‘infiltration’ 8- parties donot have any right to be so insensitive and negligent.
    the terai people have always been marginalised with institutionalised discrimination and systematic racism, not only in politics, policies and military but also in day to day social behavour.

    the interim constituion should have been able to include their demands , but at least now, 8-parties should realise their failure to address the issue and take the necessary steps.

  8. pawan

    communal unrest? This is gross corrupt intellect among arrogant guys from hill that is to label word ‘COMMUNAL’ whenever any guy from tarai belt or ethnic people from hill ask for their part of share in state resource. The few guy from hill (about 20%) consumes around 75% for state resource and they keep wondering why on earth the trouble keep happining in the country, as if acting innocent victim. When you guys are going to wake up?

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