In 2001 Jay Krishna Goit was appointed chairman of the Maoist Madhesi National Liberation Front. Two years later, he was replaced by Matrika Yadav and publicly sidelined. In retailitation, Goit formed the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM). In August last year, the JTMM split, and Jwala Singh formed a different 23-member committee. What started as a struggle against the Maoists is now a war against pahadis. Yadav maintains that the JTMM is supported by the palace and India.
Can you comment on the JTMM's communal campaign?
This revolution is misusing the madhes. Nepal is divided into two distinct groups based on colour and communities. But these groups are themselves diverse. There are feudal and oppressive people, as there are victims, in both madhesi and pahadi communities. The JTMM is fighting the Maoist party when all parties, including the Maoists, are fighting against monarchy. If they are against us, they are supporting the royalists.
Why do you accuse the JTMM of being influenced from various quarters?
The JTMM has been directly supported by the palace and India since it launched its war against the Maoist party. Jwala Singh's splinter group is closer to the palace, while Goit's JTMM answers to India. Many in Goit's group are unthinking blind supporters. A pahadi was killed in Saptari recently-was he an oppressor? Similarly, Govinda Neupane was killed in Sarlahi. If they say 'madhesi-pahadi bhai bhai', why are pahadis being systematically killed? JTMM wants to spread the message of communal hatred, which seriously undermines the madhesi revolution.
Are you saying that India does not support the political changes in Nepal?
The JTMM is being supported by those who believe in BJP-style Hindu political power. Look at Nepalganj-the wrong political elements were involved there and the madhesi movement got a very bad reputation.
Madhesi leaders say such violence was inevitable because their peaceful demands were ignored.
The madhes problem started because of the Brahmin-centric attitude that gave birth to people like Goit. The present campaign was spread by royalists.
Did this all happen because the Maoists couldn't keep a handle on things?
These groups were not born because we couldn't manage people. They were disenchanted and they betrayed us. We admit we have weaknesses, but we are finding a solution. I am trying. I haven't been able to talk to Goit directly, but I have been in touch with his advisors. I have suggested that if he does not want to talk to me, Chairman Dahal is ready to talk.
Is it true that Jwala's group has taken over a large number of Maoist fighters?
During the royal regime last year there was always news about Maoist fighters escaping or surrendering. Those were rumours and so is this. Those who joined JTMM are thugs against whom the party was to take action.
Should the tarai be called the madhes region?
There are discussions about this. I believe that there should be one madhes and there should be various units under this unified region.