Why did the Tharus gave up at last?

Tharus were taken aback when Madhesis objected keeping the word 'Tarai' before Madhes

The six-point deal that the agitating groups and the government singed on Saturday was a document of compromise, said leaders of Tharu community.

The deal that came after 13 days of continuous agitation, does not address the very first demand of the Tharus that the word “Madhes” be stricken off the Interim Constitution, which was the bone of contention.

According to sources, earlier the government had come up with a draft agreement that agreed to replace “Madhes” with “Tarai Madhes”. But when the Madhesi and Tharus leaders read it, things turned nasty: the Tharus threatened to walk away from the negotiation if the government does not agree to wipe out the word Madhes from the Interim Constitution, while the Madhesi leaders’ warned that if the government agreed to keep “Tarai” ahead of Madhes in the name of ‘appeasing’ the Tharus, they would trigger another movement.

“When the things started getting messy, both the parties agreed not to mention both of the words in the agreement while agreeing that the problems would be solved through amendment,” explained Chairman of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Pasang Sherpa. “This is what we call negotiation, either of the parties must compromise,” added Pasang.

While the mediator of the Tharus, Satya Man Joshi, who is also an advocate, said that the Tharu leaders failed to stand firm on their demand while negotiating with the government. “I don’t think they should have compromised on the very first demand the way they did” he added.

However, Gopal Dahit of Tharuhat Joint Struggle Committee, one of the members in the Tharu talks team, said that they signed the agreement only after the prime minister assured them of addressing their concern through the amendment. “We have agreed that the next amendment would do away with the disagreements regarding the use of words,” he said. “We have trusted the prime minister’s words in that regard,” he added.

The first point of the six-point deal states that “all sorts of constitutional and legal provisions that conflict with or overshadow” the identities of Tarai Aadivasi Tharus, Madhesi, Aadibasi Janajati, Dalit, Muslim and minority communities would be amended “following necessary procedures”.

According to Tharu leaders, the phrase “all sorts of constitutional and legal provisions that conflict with or overshadow with identities of Tarai Aadivasi Tharus” incorporates their perceived problem with words.

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