FAQ about Madhes Movement

Here are the answers  of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) with agitating Madhesi parties, leaders, Madhesi people, civil society and those showing solidarity to the movement. 

What are Madhesis’ key demands?

Four key demands—electoral constituencies based on population, proportional representation of Madhesis in government bodies (proportionate inclusion and representation), Madhes autonomous province, and citizenship provision as per the interim constitution. Finally, they also demand for the amendment of controversial provisions in the constitution. 

Aren’t Madhesi Parties against the talks?

Madhesi parties were never against talks. They have said repeatedly that dialogues are the only way to get their demands addressed. They have already attended several rounds of formal and informal talks with the government. 

Then, why haven’t the talks between Madhesi parties and the government been successful? 

First, the government is not taking the Madhesi demands seriously. Instead, the government has attempted to thwart the Madhesi movement several times. Second, the government is yet to come up with a concrete roadmap on provincial demarcation. Third, the government requires to have a two-third majority for the constitution amendment. These are the reasons why the talks with the government have not been successful so far.

You pointed to the government’s lack of seriousness for talks. What should the government do to show its seriousness?

Fulfillment of the following conditions will show the government’s seriousness for the talks with agitating Madhesis:

  • Immediately revoke the deployment of Army and Armed Police Force from Madhes and stop excessive use of force on peaceful protests across Madhes.
  • Declare the deceased as martyrs and provide proper treatment to the injured.
  • Set free those protesters taken into police custody
  • A clear roadmap for provincial boundary and the two-third majority required for the constitution amendment.

What if the government fails to fulfill these conditions mentioned above?

The Madhesis would then continue to protest, there are no alternatives.  

Agitating Madhesi parties attended Prime Minister’s election. Why? Did they work as per India’s instructions?   

First, agitating Madhesi parties participated in the PM’s election to support the Nepali Congress (NC) candidate because they trusted the NC for resolving the issues. Second, the participation in the PM’s election meant to stand against KP Oli, who has made several anti-Madhes remarks. Third, Madhesi parties contributed in bringing the NC into opposition else the current government without a strong opposition would have been a mess. 

No, participating in the PM election by Madhesi parties was not as per India’s instruction. Had they participated in the PM polls as per the India’s instruction, they would have also attended the presidential election.  

Why didn’t Madhesi parties participate in the Presidential election?  

Agitating Madhesi parties ruled out their participation in the presidential election because the president is just a ceremonial post. It does not affect the interests of Madhes movement. 

Are agitating Madhesi parties and people aware of India’s blockade?

India has not owned the blockade although Nepal blames India for blockade. There are still goods passing through those posts that have not been blocked by the protesters. In fact, the agitating Madhesi parties and people have said repeatedly that they imposed the blockade.

When people were not allowed to protest on streets and they were shot there, they started to stage sit-in protests at border where police again intervened the peaceful sit-ins. Instead, they resorted to the only other option, launching the sit-in protest in no man’s land since no one can rule them in that area.

If it’s not Indian blockade, why are there less supplies at other Nepal-India border points where there is no protest?

There is unrest and violence in border areas of Nepal’s territory causing obstruction of transportation across the border. It is uncertain when firings may start and curfew may get imposed because of the ongoing protests. This maybe one of the reasons why India is cautiously allowing supplies through other borders. Another reason for the disruption of supplies from India to Nepal may have been the elections in the bordering states of India.

How do agitating Madhesi parties and people view Nepal’s decision to extend relations with China? 

Agitating Madhesi parties and people do not stand against the government’s move to extend relations with China. Nepal, being a sovereign country, can start trade agreement with any country anytime. However, starting trade with China alone cannot resolve the current crisis of the country. Instead of finding temporary alternatives, the government should have worked on permanent solution by addressing Madhesis’ issues. 

Agitating Janjatis are also coordinating with agitating Madhesis to jointly continue protests. This may lead to agitating Janjatis create similar unrest at the Chinese border points because the government has failed to meet their demands as well. 

Since Nepal is currently holding talks with India and UN to end the blockade, will it affect Madhes movement? 

The problem exists in Nepal and it not with India and the UN. The Madhes movement has its own strength. People in Madhes are aware of the discriminatory constitution and are in the mood to continue until it is amended with their demands. To end the current crisis, the government should talk with agitating people from the country itself; talking with India and the UN will not help resolve the issue. 

Aren’t Madhes and Madhesis troubled by the current blockade?

Whatever petroleum products, including LPG, that enter Mades is transported straight away to Kathmandu. Only degradable vegetables are left in Madhes. Madhes and Madhesis are doubly troubled by blockade. They are the real victims in a true sense.  

How long will the protest continue? 

The protest is said to continue until Madhesis’ demands are fulfilled.