This Agitation Is A 'Do Or Die'

As the agitation in Madhesh intensifies, RAJENDRA MAHATO, leader of Sadbhabana Party, spoke to New Spotlight on various issues. Excerpts:

Sept. 26, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 09, No. -7, September 25 2015 (Ashoj 8, 2072)

At a time when three big parities and other people have been saying that the constitution is inclusive, federal, republican and secular, what more do you expect than this?

Look, there is nothing like this -- in the name of federalism, the big three have imposed their will of centralism. Instead of one king, there are three kings in the name of republic and the constitution has excluded Dalits, Janajatis, Women, Madheshis, Tharus and other many marginalized communities. After reading the constitution, you can realize that there is nothing like this.

As there are provisions for amendment, cannot your agenda be incorporated through an amendment?

When they declined our request to postpone the process for a couple of weeks, how can we believe that these three will incorporate our demands? They even kicked out one of their factions when they found it irrelevant. They are just the cheaters.

As violent activities are growing in your peaceful agitation, ransacking houses of your opponents and destroying public property, how do you justify this?

Our agitation is peaceful. But the state is provoking us, particularly the Armed Police is killing innocent people, by firing in masses. Over 40 persons have already been killed and a large number of people is injured due to rampant firing of police. When the state emerged as so much oppressive, how do you can think can people remain silent? It is the state which is killing people.

How do you see the possibility of negotiations with the three big parties on your demands?

Although we waited for meaningful negotiations with the leaders of big three till the last minute, the leaders of the three parties undermined us, looking at our call for negotiations as a weakness. We are not opposed to dialogue but given the present scenario when three big parties have already announced the New Constitution, they have closed the door for peaceful negotiations.

But the leaders of the big three parties are still renewing their call for dialogues, showing the possibility to amend the constitution. How do you look at this?

It is just a hoax. They are just fooling the international community to show that they are sincere to the talks. If they were really sincere for a peaceful resolution of agitation in Madhesh, they would have stopped the constitution writing process and negotiated with us. They are not serious on the peaceful resolution of the present problems. With the order of three big parties, police are killing innocent people in Madhesh and celebrating the festival of promulgation of constitution.

You were also part of constitution drafting in its early stage, what went wrong?

Initially, the big three worked in a good manner. However, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML suddenly started to show their strength and made the constitution as a document to protect the interest of Khas mentality.

Don’t you accept the constitution?

No way.  How can I accept the constitution which kills my brother in Madhesh on the day when it was promulgated? Nothing is acceptable other than to scrap the constitution. Our bottom-line is now to scrap the constitution promulgated by the mentality of Khash and Hill Brahmins. Our other demand is restoring normalcy, pulling out Army and Armed Police from Madhesh.

The leaders of the three parties have been repeatedly saying that this constitution has institutionalized Federal, Democratic, Republican and Secular setup in Nepal. How do you look at this?

What I can say is that the new constitution has institutionalized the rule of three big parties, particularly three hill Brahmins, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Sushil Koirala and KP Sharma Oli. In the name of federalism, it centralizes all the powers.

Unlike your saying, the elected representatives from Terai Madhesh have also voted for constitution, which was promulgated by the Madheshi president. How do you look at this?

The Janajatis, Madheshis, Tharus and Dalits were pressured and threatened by the leaders of the three parties to vote. They voted under pressure from the three hill Brahmins.

When will all this end?

As soon as the three big parties implement the agreements and commitments made with Madheshis and Tharus. If the state implements it, there is no reason to continue the agitation.

What will be your next strategy?

This agitation is a 'do or die' for Madheshis. Till we make Khas Pahadi rulers bow down, there is no question for any agreement. This time the agreement will be made in Madhesh and not in Kathmandu.

Let's change the topic. How do you look at the role of the CA members representing Madhesh from the mainstream parties?

They betrayed the people. Thus, there is disenchantment from the people in their own home constituencies. When their own brethren were being killed, they voted for the constitution. It is a shame.

UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda said your agitation is anti-national. What do you say about this?

It is an orthodox view of Nepalese communists. When they don’t see anything, they start to blame foreign hands, blaming India.

Is your agitation communal?

We are fighting for the cause of all the people living in Madhesh. We have never harped on any slogan against any community. 

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