11 - 17 December 2015 #786

Tired and demoralised

Kranti Shah in Annapurna Post, 10 December

After more than two months of staging sit-ins at the Birganj-Raxaul border, and with no political solution in sight, Madhesi demonstators in this area are beginning to lose enthusiasm.

The number of protesters which earlier measured around hundreds has taken a sharp dip in recent days.

“When we first began blocking the border, there would be around 300-400 people participating, even during the night,” says a Madhesi leader, “Now, it’s difficult to get even 20-25 people to camp out.” During the day time too participation is low.

When the protests first began three months ago, hundreds of demonstrators from Parsa and Bara districts regularly travelled to the protest site. Various organisations also took out rallies, calling for participation in enforcing blockade.

Protesters here express disappointment over the government’s apathetic attitude towards their cause despite over three months of campaigning for the movement.

“We are not allowed to say this openly, but even the leaders are starting to get demoralised,” says a central member of a Madhes party who asked not to be named.

A central member of Nepal Sadbavana Party Shiv Patel says, “Even at border posts where there are protests, large amounts of fuel and essential supplies continue to get smuggled regularly. The people who are smuggling in goods are also Madhesis, this has made demonstrators question their motives.”

However Samajwadi Forum Nepal General Secretary Ramsahay Yadav says the blockade is still in full swing. “It is the planting season, so this is why the numbers have decreased. We will continue to close the border until our demands are fulfilled.”

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