Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hamro Nepal Press Release: Only A Political Outlet To The Madhesi Movement

Press Release: Only A Political Outlet To The Madhesi Movement

(sent out to 125 email addresses)

We are saddened by the sad turn of events in the Terai of Nepal this past 12 days. We appeal to all protestors to only use nonviolent methods of protests. And we condemn in strong words the brutal police crackdown by the state that has lead to eight deaths and counting and hundreds injured in all the major Terai towns. The state repression was not this violent and brutal even during the April Revolution. That is a shame. That state terror has to come to a halt immediately. This is a political movement that only has a political solution. This is not a law and order problem with a police/military solution.

We urge that the eight party coalition meet the basic demands of the Madhesi Movement. The Home Minister needs to resign immediately. And the Prime Minister has to go on TV and address the nation saying the eight parties have agreed to draw the 205 constituencies based on equal population, and that all eight parties commit to federalism, and that all Madhesis will be granted citizenship papers before the constituent assembly elections are held. It has been wrong to cap that number at 33 lakh when a Congress government put that number at 42 lakh 10 years ago.

This is not an ethnic tussle between the Pahadi and Madhesi. Rather this is a struggle of the Madhesi community with the state for total equality. This has to be seen as the second chapter of the April Revolution itself. This is a social justice revolution that the Madhesi have launched. We urge the Madhesi leadership to reach out to the other marginalized groups, namely the Dalit, Janajati and Mahila, and we urge those marginalized groups to reach out to the Madhesi to forge a stronger coalition of social justice. The DaMaJaMa coalition is not a coalition against the Bahun and Chhetri men. Rather it is a coalition for equality for all. Progressive Bahun and Chhetri men should feel very comfortable being part of that coalition which should be issue-based.

Half a century ago the blacks in the US also waged a struggle for equality. The success of that struggle did not diminish the whites. Rather all became better off. The Madhesi attaining equality will not diminish the Pahadi. The DaMaJaMa attaining equality will not diminish the Bahun Chhetri men.

We urge all parties to agree to a framework of free, fair and representative elections to the constituent assembly where all issues will be settled through dialogue and debate and voting. For the elections to be representative and fair, all 205 constituencies have to be of equal population, and there have to be reserved constituencies for the DaMaJaMa. The reservation also has to apply to the non-elected seats.

Let us use peaceful, political processes to solve even the knottiest of our issues and problems. Let us secure a just democracy so we can all focus on rapid economic growth for the country.

Paramendra Bhagat
President, Hamro Nepal, world's first digital democracy organization
Convenor, Coordination Committee, Nepali Organizations In New York City

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