Madhesis call off blockade at Indo-Nepal border

     
February 8, 2016

KATHMANDU: The Madhesi community of the Terai plains in Nepal protesting for regional privileges in the new Constitution on Monday called off their nearly five- month-old blockade at the border with India. The violent agitation had led to shortages of essential commodities like fuel and medicine in the erstwhile Himalayan kingdom, leading to Indo-Nepal ties.

On Friday the local traders had set fire to the tent and barricade set up by the Front on the Birganj-Raxaul border to choke off supply of fuel and other essentials to Nepal.

Although the Front officially withdrew its protests only on Monday, cargo trucks had started passing through the Birganj-Raxaul check-point on Friday itself.

“Considering the current crisis facing the nation and the public necessity and aspirations, the ongoing protest programmes of general strike, border blockade, government office shutdown have been called off for now,” the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) said in a statement. “The agitation will continue till our demands are addressed,” the statement added.

The announcement has come on the eve of Prime Minister K P Oli’s trip to India on February 19, the first overseas visit of the new Nepalese premier. Oli welcomed the decision to call off the stir. “I am confident that the differences and disputes can be addressed through talks among us,” he said.

The Madhesis are opposed to the new Constitution which divides ancestral homeland Terai under a seven-province structure. The blockade had also led to strain in the Indo-Neopal ties, both accusing each other for the crisis. India had said it had imposed no blockade.

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