Amend constitution to address unrest, Indian envoy tells Nepal leaders

Kathmandu, Nov 24 (IANS) India’s Ambassador Ranjit Rae on Tuesday urged the Nepali leadership to amend the newly-promulgated constitution to resolve the ongoing unrest in the Himalayan nation’s Terai region.

Expressing displeasure over some of the contents of the constitution, including the demarcation of federal units, the Terai-based political parties have been agitating for the last three months. Over 50 people have been killed and scores injured in the protests and clashes with security forces.

At a function organised by the Nepal-India Friendship Society on Tuesday, the Indian envoy said the “only alternative” to address the unrest was amendment to the constitution where the grievances of the agitating parties can be accommodated.

The Terai is a plains region in southern Nepal whose dominant population is of Indian origin. The region shares an over-18,00 km border with India.

Rae said people should not take lightly the day by day increasing participation of people in the Madhes movement over the last three months.

Expressing resentment over some of the contents in the constitution, which was promulgated on September 20, the Terai-Madhes political parties, under the banner of the Samuyukta Loktantrik Madeshi Morcha, launched an agitation in the southern plains and blocked major Nepal-India entry points.

The Indian envoy urged the political leadership — the ruling, the opposition and the agitating factions — of Nepal to sit for talks and find a political solution to the present crisis.

“There is provision for amendment in the constitution and political leaders have been saying that it can be done in order to address the grievances of the agitating parties,” Rae said, offering a solution to end the standoff.

Nepal is facing a shortage of drugs, fuel and other essential commodities that usually come from India and other countries via Indian territory.

The Madhesi and Tharu communities are agitating, saying that their grievances were not accommodated in the constitution, he said and added that India will extend all possible help to end the agitation in case of any need.

Many Nepal leaders have been maintaining that the agitation was an internal affair, and Nepal can solve it on its own.

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