The United Democratic Madhesi Front of Nepal has officially called off their four and half month long protests along the Indo- Nepal border. The protests caused a long blockade of trade movement between the two countries and affecting availability of basic services in the Himalayan country.
A meeting of United Democratic Madhesi Front, comprising four parties, agreed to call of their protests citing present situation in the country and difficulties faced by citizens.
“Programmes carried out as part of the protests including general strike, blockade of border points and closure of government offices have been stayed with immediate effect,” said a release.
However the party has decided to continue with other ‘milder’ forms of protests and give different shape to their agitation in coming days after wider consultations with various groups. “Our protests would continue till all our demands are met. We haven’t backed off nor are going to in future,” the release added. The UDMF have decided to hold baton and torch rallies in Terai, the region bordering India where Madhesis reside, in the coming days.
Madhesis have been protesting against the new statute since August seeking a package deal for their 11-point demands which include fresh demarcation of federal boundaries and proportional representation in all state organs. The decision to call off the protest comes three days after Indian traders forcibly removed blockade on the Miteri Bridge in Birganj after a gap of 135 days, allowing smooth movement of cargo vehicles into Nepal.
Official announcement of removal of the blockade has paved the way for Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India this month. He had expressed reservations on the visit till the situation normalised.