Dip Jha Explains Why The Environment for Dialogue Was Not Conducive

While the CA process was stalled by Nepal government for two days, the curfew, deployment of Nepal Army, and killing of unarmed civilians continued in southern Nepal, known as Madhesh. Admist these conditions, the three ruling parties in Nepal government invited agitating parties in Madhesh for a dialogue. Chairman of Nepal Sadhwana Party, Rajendra Mahato was willing to sit for talks if the government created an environment conducive for the dialogue.

After two days passed and no dialogue happened, the mainstream media blamed the Madhesi leaders for perpetuating the unrest by rejecting the government’s invitation for dialogue. They published stories and musings about why they did not show up. A popular television network in Nepal, Kantipur Television, invited Dipendra Jha for a televised interview and asked questions about what went wrong, why the parties based in Madhesh rejected the government’s call for dialogue. A recorded 21 minute video can be viewed on DC Nepal website. Below is a summary of Adv. Dipendra Jha’s interview with the Kantipur Television studio on the 12th of September.

  1. Why won’t Madhesi leaders accept the Invitation for dialogue?

While it is a good thing that the government thought about the Madhesh protests and decided to stop the constitution assembly (CA) process for two days, it is also evident that this was just a formality to bury any international concerns. While the drafting process still went through Friday and it was to be started again on Sunday at 11 Am, which leaves us with a Saturday. That time frame is neither sufficient nor adequate with what the condition currently requires. Also, inviting the leaders while curfew is still imposed, Nepal Army is deployed, and people are being killed in Madhesh only makes the environment less suited for any kind of discussion that concerns the country and its citizens. While the decision to suspend any further progress was being made, 5 people in Janakpur lost their lives at Nepal police’s gunpoint and hence that kind of invitation is a token  and essentially meaningless.

  1. What should be done by the Government?

First of all, the government should create a conducive environment for dialogue which means: treatment of the injured, withdrawal of the army from Madhesh, and Martyrdom for the deceased since they lost their lives fighting for a political reform.

This however, should not be considered as preconditions by Madhesi parties, it is the nation’s duty as the citizens’ protector because it’s the country’s citizens who are dying. That way we can begin to step forward.

For instance, a cabinet meeting was swiftly set and it was decided that the deceased’s family in Surkhet would get a sum of NR. one million each. Madhesis are no different. They just want equal treatment, that’s all.

It is also evident that the people in Terai are furious. While the popular uprising against the King lasted for 19 days, the Terai protests have been going on for more than 30 days now. More people are being killed in the “democratic” Nepal under ruling parties NC and CPN-UML. So it is the duty of the government to ease the situation rather than oppress the dissenters. Why isn’t our Government Making it easy for all?

  1. Tikapur and Mahottari Incidents: what were these?

The killing of unarmed or an injured security personnel is inhumane and there is no way it can be justified, I denounce such violence and the guilty should be punished.

However, innocent people are being killed in Terai too but the government and mainstream media is only concerned about the Tikapur and Mahottari incidents. Nobody seems to care or talk about innocent Madhesis dying and it should change. They are no less human than policemen who were killed.

The use of force and weapons to maintain order is necessary. However, it is plain cruelty on part of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force to shoot everyone on the head and chest, and this action can never be justified.

  1. Madhesi Protest: politics or violence?

It is obvious that the protests are political however it cannot be denied that there is violence in it, from both parties, which the government should handle with maturity and impartiality.

  1. Aren’t Madhesi leaders responsible for the violence?

When they lead a movement, there is an obvious responsibility on their side, but the public is agitated because the 22-point deal and the 8-point deal were both disregarded in this constitution. If this attitude of the government is to continue, it is possible that the situation could go out of control even for the Madhesi leaders.

In the end it all comes down to how the government handles the situation. Will they respond with necessary salutation or continue with the use of force and push the situation into the extreme? The protests in Terai will continue as long as necessary and time will tell what the face of new Nepal is going to be like.