Madhesi protests: Nepal’s ruling party agrees to amend statute

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Dec 04, 2015 23:39 IST
A protester burns a tyre on the highway connecting Nepal to India during a general strike called by the Madhesi protesters demonstrating against the new constitution in Birgunj. (Reuters Photo)

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, the leading party in Nepal’s ruling coalition, agreed to amend the country’s new constitution to address demands made by Madhesi groups on Friday.

The decision taken at CPN-UML’s standing committee meeting is expected to help resolve the ongoing protests in the Madhes region bordering India, which have claimed nearly 50 lives to date and injured hundreds.

“To address the demands seeking fresh delineation of federal states, the party has decided to constitute a committee comprising all political parties,” said a statement released after the meeting. Political parties based in Madhes have been opposing the constitution and have sought an amendment of the constitution and fresh demarcation of state boundaries so that there is adequate representation of people from the region in all government organs.

Madhes has also witnessed a three-month long mass agitation, which has turned violent on several occasions, with protesters blocking key border points with India, resulting in the scarcity of essential goods and petroleum products. Nepal has accused India of supporting the Madhesis and blocking the border — a charge New Delhi has repeatedly denied.

The government led by CPN-UML chairman KP Oli had earlier expressed unwillingness to move ahead with the amendment proposal tabled by the previous government, which was headed by the Nepali Congress.

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