Koirala toughens stand over Terai
With Nepal’s eastern Terai completely paralysed for the last five days, PM Koirala adopts a hard line towards the unrest in the region, reports Anirban Roy.Updated: Feb 18, 2008 02:20 IST
With Nepal’s eastern Terai completely paralysed for the last five days, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has adopted a hard line towards the political unrest in the region.
Koirala on Sunday directed the heads of security agencies to “initiate every possible measure” to ensure normalcy. Such a directive is bound to provoke the Madheshi leadership even further.
Any attempt by the security agencies to forcefully ply vehicles on the major highways or open shops will certainly cause lead to a major setback in the political talks between the government and the agitating Madheshi political parties.
“What is the point of this kind of approach?” Rajendra Mahato, senior Madheshi leader said to Hindustan Times on Sunday. “The government should not underestimate the aspirations of the people of Terai.”
The Madheshi political parties are determined not to allow the holding of constituent assembly elections in the Terai till their demands are met. The main demand is declaring the region an autonomous state, one which Koirala has already turned down.
In view of the growing uncertainty, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee has been directed by New Delhi to remain in Kathmandu till the constituent assembly elections on April 10. Earlier Mukherjee was scheduled to join as the Indian High Commissioner in London on March 1. “Our government has asked me to stay back here till the holding of the election,” Mukherjee confirmed. The new ambassador, Rajesh Sood will take over after the CA election.
Special ID cards for Indian tourists
Nepal has asked India to consider the feasibility of issuing photo identity cards to Indian tourists arriving by air who do not have either a passport or a voter identity card. “We have requested our government to pursue the matter with the Indian government,” said Nandini Lahe Thapa, Director Tourism Marketing and Promotion of the Nepal Tourism Board.