Upset Madhesi parties contemplate fresh Nepal blockade
Madhesi parties are mulling a move to impose a fresh blockade of the border with India because they are upset with the Nepal government’s unilateral decision to create a mechanism to divide the country into six states.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, on a visit to India, has said that all issues related to the new Constitution have been sorted out. But the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), comprising political parties from the Terai plains, has rejected the political mechanism for demarcation of federal boundaries.
Less than two weeks after ending a blockade of key border trade points, the UDMF is contemplating a move to deny access to them again.
“If the government continues to ignore our demands and take unilateral decisions, we might impose another blockade in April-May,” said Upendra Yadav, chairman of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, a member of the UDMF.
The UDMF described the creation of the mechanism to demarcate the boundaries of the six states as the third unilateral move by the government, after the promulgation of the Constitution and some amendments made to address the demands of Madhesis.
“The mechanism was formed a day ahead of Oli’s India visit, not to solve the problem but it was a drama to please New Delhi,” said Yadav.
The blockade in the Terai, the region where Madhesis are the dominant group, had resulted in a severe shortage of essential goods, medicines and fuel. It was lifted by the UDMF earlier this month, after 135 days, citing the difficulties faced by the people.
Entry of three more Terai-based parties into the UDMF, taking the total number to seven, has bolstered the grouping and it is planning more protests this time around.