Friday, February 29, 2008

A step closer to peace?

The government and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) signed an eight-point deal on Thursday ending the protracted Terai crisis.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala shaking hands with Madhesi leaders (Upendra...
On the 16th day of indefinite Terai bandh, the government and the UDMF signed the agreement following which the UDMF leaders have withdrawn their agitation and agreed to take part in April election.

The deal states that the federal units including Madhes will be made autonomous; Madhesis and other marginalised communities would be proportionally recruited in Nepali Army; those killed during Madhes agitation would be declared martyrs; injured will be provided free medical treatment; and the government will request the Election Commission (EC) to allow the Madhesi parties to file their nominations for the CA election.

In a press meet organised after the signing of the deal in Baluwatar, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said that the agreement will be fully implemented.

"Let no one doubt about its implementation. It will go into effect immediately," he said.

PM Koirala also reiterated that the Constituent Assembly election will end all the problems facing the country. "That is the place from where all problems will be resolved," he said.

Addressing the joint press meet, Mahantha Thakur, chief of Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP), said, "This uprising was not aimed at weakening Nepal but at gaining the rights for people of Madhes."

Thakur also urged the government to create environment to faciliate the entry of parties that have raised arms to come to the negotiating table.

Upendra Yadav, coordinator of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), said, "I hope that this agreement is fully implemented so that Madhesis do not have to launch another agitation. If we are compelled to launch another agitation that would be decisive and much intense."

Rajendra Mahato, chief of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP), also addresssed the joint press meet. The TMLP, MJF and NSP are three parties who floated the UDMF, which has spearheaded Madhes agitation.

General secretary of Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) and Maoist chairman Prachanda were also present at the joint press meet, which was held following hours-long talks in Baluwatar.



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