BACKtoSTREET BoYS !!! Tharus stirring again

Tharus stirring again
Threaten to seize local govts
KATHMANDU, April 17 - Enraged by government "failure" to implement the six-point agreement signed on March 14, Tharus on Friday announced the second phase of their protests, which they warn, will culminate in capture of local governments in some Tarai districts.

The ethnic group, represented by Tharuhat Joint Struggle Committee (TJSC), announced protests accusing the government of trying to deceive them on the direction of some agents of Indian expansionism.

Citing one of the reasons for resuming their protests, TJSC Coordinator Laxman Tharu said at a press meet that the government had not taken any action toward amending the "faulty" acts and bills, which -- as per the agreement -- was to be accomplished during the winter session of the House.

With a view to implementing some of the points of the agreement, the government had registered a bill concerning reservation for discussion in the House, which had caused Tharus to go for second round of protest. 

TJSC claims that contrary to what had been agreed, the government decided to keep "Tarai Madhes" in place of "Madhes" in the supplementary bill. They have objected to the amendment claiming that it denies them their true identity.

One major demand articulated in their 13-day agitation was guarantee of separate identity for Tharus and other indigenous groups. Tharus had withdrawn all protests after the government assured immediate amendment of all laws and acts "conflicting with their unique identities".

Tharus interpret the "amendment" mentioned in the agreement as, among others, replacement of the word "Madhes" by "Tarai", which was however not mentioned in the agreement after Madhesi parties objected.

"We have lost faith in the government after it engaged in foul play; so we have decided to go for a second round of protest, which includes capturing all local resources and launching our own governments in Tharuhat areas," said Tharu.

"The only way the government can stop us is through immediate implementation of the six-point demand, which includes, among others, amendment of acts concerning civil service, citizenship, elections and other issues," he said.

In addition to their demands addressed in the six-point agreement, Tharus have put forward new demands such as declaration of Tharuhat Autonomous State incorporating some Tarai districts, implementation of ILO Convention 169, guarantee of proportional representation of all castes based on census, immediate appointment of Tharus and other indigenous people in all state organs and constitutional bodies, constitutional guarantee of political rights of all minorities including Tharus and Muslims, rehabilitation and empowerment of ex-bonded labourers (ex-Kamaiyas), and special arrangement for education up to higher secondary level in Tharu language.

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