The Maoists may have joined peaceful politics but the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha has instead spearheaded a rash of violence in various districts in the tarai. Soon after UN special representative Ian Martin urged the government to clarify its stance on the JTMM in a press conference this week, Prime Minister Koirala said the government would start talks with the group.
Jwala Singh, president of the group that has enforced shutdowns across the tarai, has announced nine-point conditions for talks with the government. "If the power that lies in the hands of the hill ethnic communities is willing to consider giving the 14 million people of the tarai our rights, we will sit for talks. We are not against talks," he said.
Singh's minimum conditions for talks are that: the tarai should be declared sovereign; that constituencies be formed on the basis of population and equal participation; that the administrative and security agencies be taken out of the tarai and the vacant posts be turned over tarai inhabitants; that the population count (census) be coordinated by madhesis; that citizenship certificates are allowed to be issued and distributed by the madhesi leadership in the tarai; that the families of those killed by the army and Maoists be given compensation of Rs 1.5 million each; that land confiscated by the Maoists be returned, and extortion and \'taxation' stopped; that further oppression, abductions, and attacks by the Maoists on the madhesi people be stopped immediately.
The JTMM, a Maoist splinter group formerly lead by Jay Krishna Goit, has recently unleashed violence in the tarai, demanding more rights for the madhesi people. The group has been abducting and releasing civil servants of hill ethnicity in the tarai, and recently murdering one Arjun Funyal in Saptari. Jwala Singh denied the accusations, saying, "We are not for killing people, even people from the hills. Except for the Saptari case, those killed died in confrontations with the Maoists. When we abduct people, we follow the Geneva convention."