Nepali PM holds talks with Madhesi leaders

February 15th, 2008 - 10:59 pm ICT by admin  

Xinhua
Kathmandu, Feb 15 (Xinhua) Nepali Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala met leaders of the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) at his official residence in Nepali capital Friday afternoon. Koirala met the leaders a day after the ruling seven-party alliance formally invited them to for talks to resolve the crisis in southern Terai plains of the country because of strikes announced by various Madhesi parties.

During the meeting, the prime minister reportedly discussed the six-point demand of the UDMF, a newly formed front comprising Terai-Madhesi Democratic Party (TMDP), Madhesi People’s Rights Forum and the Sadbhawana Party, local website eKantipur reported.

The UDMF leaders - including Mahanta Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Anil Kumar Jha and Mahendra Yadav - were present in the meeting. TMDP Chairman Mahanta Thakur said that the meeting could not forge any agreement.

“We discussed our demands with the prime minister and he only gave some kind of assurances to us,” he said after the meeting.

Thakur said that the prime minister has directed them not to disclose anything about the meeting.

Emerging from the meeting, UDMF leader Jha said they discussed the six-point charter of demands, including for an autonomous Terai with the right of self-determination.

Life across the Terai districts has remained tense for the last three days because of an indefinite strike called by the UDMF and the Federal Republican National Front.

The strike across the southern plains has hit the capital hard with the shutdown of the only route that brings fuel supplies to the country from the sole supplier, India.

Frequent strikes in the restive Terai have thrown the twice-deferred constituent assembly elections into uncertainty.

Madhesi people live mainly in south Nepal’s plains and are socio-culturally close to neighbouring Indians.
Xinhua

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