Protesters demanding changes to Nepal’s new Constitution have put forward fresh conditions to the government for talks to end a 10-month-long impasse on the statute.
The Federal Alliance, which comprises more than two dozen groups from the Madhes region bordering India and other indigenous and marginalised communities, has refused to join talks till the demands are met.
“The government’s failure to take any concrete steps on the list of demands we had given earlier shows that they are not interested to solve the issue through talks,” said a statement issued by the alliance on Thursday night.
The fresh list of demands, including several submitted to the government earlier, was the alliance’s response to a new call for talks made by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s government.
The anti-Constitution protests began in August last year and there have been nearly three dozen rounds of talks between the government and protesters, but no solution has emerged yet.
Violent protests between September last year and February in the regions bordering India, where protesters were seeking fresh demarcation of federal states, left 55 dead, including policemen.
The protesters, who had blocked key border trade routes with India for five months, have resorted to other methods of protest, including rallies and relay hunger strikes.
The protesters are demanding, among other things, implementation of past deals with them, free treatment of people injured in protests, compensation for the families of those killed and a judicial inquiry into alleged killings by security forces.
The withdrawal of cases against protesters, unconditional release of those imprisoned and the amendment of the Constitution to address its demands are other terms put forward by the alliance.
“If the government creates conducive atmosphere by addressing these demands, we are ready to sit for result-oriented talks,” the statement said.