|ROYAL REFERENCE: Bikas Khatil, a madhesi student from the Shahid Smarak High School, Banke, stands outside, holding a textbook that still contains portraits of the royal family.|
Terrorism, cowardice and inhuman are three words madhesis have been using a lot this week to describe last Sunday's murder of two schoolchildren and a woman in Kathmandu's bombings.
"Such an act of terror and the targeting of unarmed people is not politics at all and we condemn it very much," a furious and frustrated Surya Dev Ojha, Banke chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum said.
The bombings, claimed by an unknown group called Tarai Army, sparked a torrent of debate among madhesi political activists who wanted to make it clear that 'real' Nepali madhesis had no hand in the attacks.
Militant madhesi groups, including JTMM, were also critical, saying the bombs put a strain on the pro-madhesi movement. Even leaders Jwala Singh and Goit, whose cadres have been responsible for much of the violence, killings and abduction in the terai, stepped forward to condemn the attacks.
"A madhesi group admitting to such a heinous crime is an attack on the sentiments of all our madhesi people and our country," says activist CP Singh from the Human Rights Alliance. He believes such incidents serve only to jeopardise the madhesi movement and fuel communal violence against madhesis.
"We don't know who these people are, but they are definitely trying to disgrace our movement and people," said another frustrated madhesi leader, Barun Yadab, vice president of Jan Utthan in Janakpur.
After the attacks, Madhesi leaders called for an emergency meeting organised by Madhesi Loktantrik Samaj, which has a strong network in the eastern terai from Morang to Parsa.
In the past, madhesi leaders have sometimes been reluctant to criticise the violence, assassinations and abductions that have become commonplace in the terai, but this time they have spoken out, expressing their disgust and promising to hunt down the bombers.