Kamal Raj Sigdel, April 28, 2009
Instead of implementing the six-point agreement signed on March 14 between the government and the Tharus, the Maoist-led government has arrested Laxman Tharu, the leader of Tharuhat Joint Struggle Committee, which had resumed the agitation in the southern plains demanding immediate implementation of the agreement.
Analysts claim that the government decided to crack down upon Tharus on the pressure of the Madhesi parties, who have been the major "opponents" of the Tharus.
The ethnic minority, seventh largest community in population, have been protesting against the "One Madhes One Pradesh" project sponsored by Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum, Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party and others.
Fulfilling Tharus' demands -- which means to replace 'Madhes' by 'Tarai', among others -- would mean offending Madhesi parties that have already warned the government of unfortunate consequences. MJF's support is key in keeping intact Maoist in power.
As the Tharus, who seems to be backed up by none of the political parties, appeared the lesser power, somewhat weaker, the government has taken a U-turn in its approach to resolve the recent ethnic crisis, largely associated with the Tharus. Hence the arrest.
Such an arrest is the first of its kind in the past three years after the country was declared a federal republic.
There have been numerous ethnic and regional movements -- such as the Madhesi agitation, Chure Bhaver Pradesh agitation, Limbuwan-Khumbuwan movement, and the likes but not a single leader of any community launching such protests has been arrested.
The government harsh move is anticipated to further complicate the process of resolving current crisis.