Madhesi protesters refuse to relent, fuel crisis deepens

Birgunj/ Kathmandu (Nepal), Oct. 25 (ANI): Demanding a separate Madhes Pradesh, Madhesi protesters on Sunday blocked Miteri Bridge at the Birgunj-Raxaul border point.

Protesters assembled in huge number, along with women and children, and raised slogans against Prime Minister K.P. Oli.

“We hardly care for our children’s education or farming, as our only motive now is to struggle for a separate Madhes Pradesh,” they said.

For over a month now, the Madhesi protesters are opposing Nepal’s new Constitution.

To ease out the problem, the newly formed government recently formed a four-member talks team under Dy. Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affair Kamal Thapa to hold dialogue with the protesting Madhesi and Janajati forces.

On Saturday, Nepalis crossed over to border towns of eastern India to get their vehicles refilled as their country continued to face severe fuel shortage.

Amid blockade caused by ethnic parties in Nepal protesting against the division of their ancestral homeland under the new constitution, the Himalayan nation suffers from acute fuel crisis.

The border crossings are the lifeblood of the landlocked country, which relies on India for all of its petroleum products.

The Madhesi community in Nepal’s lowlands, many of whom trace their origins to India, have imposed an economic blockade to oppose the promulgation of the new constitution. They are against splitting Nepal into seven provinces.

Thousands of trucks carrying essential commodities have been stopped at the border with India.

Nepalis expressed anger against the new government as fuel shortage crippled normal life.

“We are facing a lot of problem. Our government led by Prime Minister KP Oli is not doing anything, they are not providing proper fuel and other essential commodities,” said a Nepali national, Sanju Gupta, in India’s eastern Raxaul.

In Nepal’s Paras, fuel stations wore a deserted look.

“None of our demands are being fulfilled. We are not getting petrol and diesel. It is getting difficult to maintain a vehicle. We have to go to India to refill our vehicles,” said a local, Ram Malik.

Families are relying on raw food or canned goods, as cooking gas has become a black-market commodity that few can afford.

Nepal has also accused India of imposing a fuel embargo, in support of the Madhesi, with which it has close ethnic ties.

However, India rejected Nepal’s contention in the United Nations that New Delhi has blocked a key border trade point with Kathmandu that had resulted in acute shortage of essential goods.

Tension between the South Asian nations has spiked since Nepal adopted a new constitution on September 20, upsetting southern minority groups who fear being marginalised in a new federal structure. (ANI)

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