Nepali Times
Letters
Tarai demands


Finally, some journalists and politicians have started to accept the fact that madhesis have been discriminated against by Nepal's rulers. But no one talks about what a solution should be.

Nepal's leaders need to design a system in which every dhoti-wearing, dark-skinned, pan-eating, Hindi-speaking, Bihari-looking person with Nepali citizenship is treated as respectfully (both on paper and in practice) as any daura surwal and topi-wearing Bahun or Chhetri. Madhesis won't feel assured that discrimination has come to an end unless they are given their own state-I do not mean a separate country. The tarai can be divided into one or more states that have significant powers such as revenue collection, policing, budget decisions, and so on. This is among the JTMM's main demands, and the Maoists got madhesi support based on this agenda.

The JTMM may not have many supporters willing to die for the cause at the moment, but they do enjoy the tacit support of a significant part of the madhesi population, which by conservative estimates is 35-40 percent of Nepal's population. The longer the rulers in Kathmandu take, the more concessions they will have to make in the future. Just as Gyanendra is on the verge of losing his throne forever, rulers sitting in Kathmandu might soon have to face losing the tarai forever.

Anand Jha,
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LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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