Nepal’s Terai leaders optimistic of deal with government

February 28th, 2008 - 11:23 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, Feb 28 (Xinhua) United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an umbrella organization of parties of Nepal’s Terai region agitating for autonomy, Thursday expressed optimism of reaching an agreement with the government. Talking to reporters as they prepared to hold talks with government representatives, leader of Terai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) Hridayesh Tripathy said: “We hope not to return empty handed today but bring the package (of agreement) with us.”

Rajendra Mahato, chief of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP), said that once the deal is sealed, the environment would be conducive to holding the April 10 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.

The Constituent Assembly will decide the future political set-up of the country and the fate of the monarchy.

According to website, the Nepali government and UDMF have reached an eight-point agreement and are set to formalize it by signing it later Thursday.

Following the agreement, the UDMF would announce an end to the 16-day indefinite strike in Madhes, south Nepal’s Terai plains, and the government would reciprocate by facilitating their filing of nominations for the upcoming elections.

UDMF is an alliance of three major Madhes-based parties - the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF), TMDP and NSP. It has put forth a six-point demand to the government and required that to be met and included in the amended Interim Constitution before the CA elections.

The demand includes an autonomous Madhes state with right to self-determination.

UDMF has been holding an indefinite strike from Feb 13 in the Terai region affecting normal life across the country. Five people have been reported killed in the unrest.

Madhesis are the Nepalese mainly living in south Nepal’s Terai plains, who are socio-culturally close to the Indians across the border.

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