China ‘assures’ agitating Tarai leaders it is not anti-Madhesi

China has told Nepal’s Tarai leadership, agitating for greater rights in the constitution, that Beijing is not ‘anti-Madhesi’ and believes that for a stable Nepal, Madhesis have to be accommodated in a political settlement.
Nepalese men, mostly from Madhesi community, protest against the new constitution.(AP)
Nepalese men, mostly from Madhesi community, protest against the new constitution.(AP)
Updated on Oct 08, 2015 01:43 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

China has told Nepal’s Tarai leadership, agitating for greater rights in the constitution, that Beijing is not ‘anti-Madhesi’ and believes that for a stable Nepal, Madhesis have to accommodated in a political settlement. It has also told them that burning a China flag does not make anyone ‘pro-India’, just as publicly claiming China step into to compete with India in Nepal does not make anyone ‘pro-China’. It has conveyed to Madhesi leaders India and China are in touch on Nepal, a fact HT had reported last week.

Top Madhesi leaders who have been in touch with Chinese officials in recent days have told HT that Beijing was concerned about the burning of a China flag during the ongoing Madhesi agitation in Nepal’s southern plains. The Madhesi parties had condemned the incident, distancing themselves from it.

Chinese officials are understood to have clarified their stance to Tarai leaders. “They told us China is not anti-Madhesi, just as Madhes is not anti-China. They added that while China does not speak on Nepal’s internal affairs, it wants a peaceful and stable Nepal, and for a stable Nepal, Madhes has to be accommodated,” a top political source told HT. The Chinese side added that by burning a Chinese flag, no one becomes ‘pro India’, just as by saying China will replace India in Nepal, as some in Kathmandu have suggested, no one becomes ‘pro China’.

“The Chinese emphasised that India and China had close ties, and had even been in touch at various levels. They even joked that in Kathmandu, Chinese diplomats have told Indian diplomats they may need their help to get fuel for the embassy.” Nepal’s capital is crippled because of disruption of supplies at the southern border, and many embassies - including the Indian embassy - have written to the Nepal government asking for fuel.

Meanwhile, talks between Madhesi parties and the Nepal government to end the ongoing protests against the new constitution in the Terai plains remained inconclusive on Wednesday.

Leaders from United Democratic Madhesi Forum sought fresh demarcation of federal states immediately while interlocutors from the government side maintained it has to go through a process.

Both sides have agreed to resume talks on Friday.

Also read:
A mass movement in Tarai and a deepening alienation
Nepal protests: Dissident group agrees to talks with govt


    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

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