Parties representing the Madhesi and indigenous people that are seeking amendments in Nepal’s new Constitution decided on Friday to launch their first protests in the national capital over the weekend.
Leaders of the Federal Alliance, which comprises 27 parties representing Madhesis and various indigenous groups, will organise a rally in Kathmandu on Saturday.
This will be followed by an indefinite ‘gherao’ (encirclement) of Singha Darbar, the official seat of the government, from Sunday.
The parties have been protesting against the statute in other regions since last year. This is the first time they have decided to organise protests in Kathmandu.
“We don’t want to start an agitation. But the regressive and divisive tactics of the government have forced us to start one. Our agitation will be peaceful and non-violent,” said a statement issued by the alliance.
The parties and are seeking several changes in the Constitution adopted last September, including fresh demarcation of federal boundaries.
Violent protests, especially in the Terai belt of southern Nepal bordering India, claimed more than 50 lives last year. The government made two amendments to the statute, but the Madhesi parties rejected them as unsatisfactory and one-sided.
Four Madhesi parties under the banner of the United Democratic Madhesi Front organised a nearly five-month-long blockade of the border with India between September last year and February.
Despite nearly three dozen rounds of talks between the government and the parties, no resolution has been reached and both sides have accused each other of not being serious.
Earlier this week, the government sent another request to the parties for talks but it was rejected.