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India fails to broker peace in Terai

world Updated: Feb 21, 2008 22:29 IST
Anirban Roy


India’s repeated attempts to broker peace between the agitating madhesi groups and the Koirala government has failed to make both sides compromise.

The madhesi parties continue to distance themselves from the scheduled constituent assembly elections on April 10, as the interim government refuses to bow to their demand for an autonomous state for the Terai region.

“We will not take part in the election,” Upendra Yadav, senior Madheshi leader told Hindustan Times on Thursday, adding that the agitation would continue till their demands are fulfilled.

Though Gopal Baglay, spokesperson of Embassy of India in Kathmandu refused to confirm India’s role in brokering peace in Terai, the local Nepali media on Thursday reported about the meetings.

It was reported that the meetings were being held in India House, the ambassador’s official residence.

Some television channels have also shown footages of the leaders coming out of the India Embassy.

Earlier, India has always claimed that it would not like to interfere in Nepal’s ‘interior matters’.

In fact, New Delhi’s direct involvement in resolving the Terai imbroglio is more problematic as there has been a growing “anti-India” campaign across the 23 districts of the region.

It has been a cause of major concern for India as Madheshi protestors have been burning effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia gandhi and External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee in Birgunj and other bordering areas.

Meanwhile, the Nepal Election Commission on Thursday extended the deadline for submission of the list of “closed-list” for the CA election under the proportional system to February 24.

The deadline has been extended considering that holding of the CA election is an integral part of the ongoing peace process in Nepal.

Rajendra Mahato, president of Sadbhawana Party told HT that the question of them participating in the CA election does not arise. “How can we take part in election when our demands are not met?” he questioned.