Friday, March 13, 2009

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) -- have agreed to sort the ongoing Tharu ethnic agitation

KATHMANDU, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Two major government coalition partners, -- the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) -- have agreed to sort the ongoing Tharu ethnic agitation even by amending the Interim Constitution.

"We agreed to address the rightful demands raised by the indigenous Tharu community. For this we are ready to amend the Interim Constitution and ordinance too," local newspaper The Rising Nepal on Friday quoted the UCPN-M leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha as saying following a meeting of the two parties Thursday.

The Interim Constitution was promulgated on Jan. 15, 2007 after the Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed between the then government and the formerly Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), ending the decade civil war.

The UCPN-M emerged from the elections as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly last year, and led the formation of the first republic government, joined by the third largest party, the CPN-UML as the major coalition partner.

Realizing that the demands raised by the Tharus were right for safeguarding their own rights and caste identity, top leaders of the two communist parties had agreed to forge consensus among other parties.

A six-party meeting held on Tuesday stated that the Nepali government would come up with a plan to guarantee the proportional representation of all indigenous communities in the state mechanism.

The daily life in the 22 Terai districts in the south of Nepal has been crippled because of restive Tharu agitation, demanding the withdrawal of government introduced ordinance. The hilly districts and capital Kathmandu are also hit with the shortage of provisions and fuel due to the blockade of transportation.

Three persons, including one policeman were killed in clashes between police and Tharu protesters in south Nepal on last Thursday and Friday.

Following the failure to find a solution through talks between the agitating Tharus and the government, the top brasses of the two parties had gathered at the CPN-UML headquarters in Kathmandu.

The Tharu community in Chitwan had called banda (general strike) and had blocked the highway against a former cabinet decision of identifying them as one of the Madhesi groups.

Tharu claimed they are indigenous people in south Nepal, Terai plains, while the Madhesi people mainly refer to the Nepalese, socio-culturally close to neighboring Indians living also in Terai.

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