Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed concern at political violence in Nepal, saying the leadership should resolve all outstanding issues through the widest possible consultation to accommodate the aspirations of all sections of Nepali people.
Modi made the remarks when he spoke on telephone to his Nepali counterpart Sushil Koirala a day after protests over the creation of new states turned violent in the western district of Kailali and nine people were killed.
He expressed sorrow at the loss of lives in the violence in Nepal and said “political and social instability would seriously compound the tragedy caused by the recent earthquake in Nepal”.
Nepal’s political leadership “should resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue between all political parties and through the process of widest possible consultation, including with the public”, he said according to a statement issued by the external affairs ministry.
This will strengthen trust and confidence “across and between all sections of society” and lead to solutions that “reflect the will and accommodate the aspirations of all citizens of a richly diverse society within a united, peaceful, stable and prosperous Nepal”, he added.
The remarks were an apparent reference to the Madhesis of the plains – who share close ethnic and familial ties with people across the border in Bihar and have felt politically excluded in Nepal’s hill-dominated political structure. They were at the forefront of demanding federalism in Nepal and saw the deal on new states as a way of postponing and subverting the federal project.
Modi also called for restraint and restoration of peace and order. He appealed to the government, all political parties and the people of Nepal to “eschew violence and maintain social harmony”, the statement said.
India, as a neighbour, will do all it can for security in Nepal, Modi told Koirala. India wishes to see the emergence of a peaceful, secure, stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal, which draws strength from its rich social diversity, enormous resources and extraordinary talent, he said.
India will continue to provide support to Nepal in accordance with the wishes and priorities of the people to achieve this goal, he added.
Modi also lauded the progress that Nepal has made in its peace process and in drafting its Constitution.
Nepal has not witnessed such political violence since the civil war ended in 2006.
The violence and killings came in the wake of prolonged protests in the plains of Nepal and deepening polarisation in the society and polity. The government decided on Monday evening to deploy the army to help civilian authorities restore order in the districts.