Police intervene in Janajati protest, scores injured
KATHMANDU, May 16: Around a dozen ethnic leaders and activists were injured when police prevented a torch rally in Kathmandu on Wednesday evening, protesting the agreement of major political parties to federalize the country into 11 provinces and to authorize assemblies to name the provinces.
According to the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NFIN), lawmaker Ang Dawa Sherpa, NFIN President Bhai Kirat along with activists Gwang Furi Shrestha, Madhav Darlami Magar, Dhirendra Rai, Prem Limbu and Prem Dhoj Rai were also injured in the clash.
NFIN has been demanding an identity-based federal states.
Earlier, ethnic leaders and activists had held a whistle rally in front of the Constituent Assembly building in Baneshwor, in protest of the agreement.
Addressing the rally, Nepali Congress lawmaker Jip Chhiring Sherpa, CPN-UML lawmaker Pasang Sherpa and UCPN (M) lawmaker Suresh Ale Magar said they would not follow the line of their respective political parties and protest the 11-province model of federalism.
Meanwhile, Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) has threatened to launch "strong" protests if the agreement reached by major three political parties on the formation of 11 provinces and other contentious issues of the new constitution is not scrapped.
The Madhes-based political party has termed the three-party agreement as conspiracy to weaken Tarai by dividing it into multiple provinces.
"The three political parties must rescind the agreement immediately as it is against earlier agreements reached by the Madhes-based parties and governments and against the reports of the State Restructuring Commission (SRC) and the Constitution Assembly (CA) committee on state restructuring," said MPRF General Secretary Ramsahay Yadav at a press conference organized by the party in Singha Durbar on Wednesday.
He said they would not accept 11 provinces model under any circumstances saying it would continue suppression against the Madhesi peoples.
Similarly, United Democratic Tharu Front (UDTF), an alliance of cross-party Tharu lawmakers, has criticized the agreement stating it was an attack on the sentiments of Tharu, Muslim, Indigenous, Dalit and other marginalized communities.
They have also called indefinite banda across Tarai districts starting May 18 to exert pressure for the formation of identity-based autonomous Tharuhat/Madhes state.