New Delhi/Kathmandu, August 25: Indian Prime Minister rendra Modi on Tuesday spoke to his Nepali counterpart Sushil Koirala and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in violence in Nepal linked to the drafting of a new constitution. He urged the political leadership to resolve contentious issues through dialogue. Twenty people - 17 policemen and three civilians - were killed and more than 100 injured in clashes on Monday in western Nepal’s Kailali district during protests demanding a separate Tharuhat province. Modi “expressed concern that political and social instability would seriously compound the tragedy caused by the (deadly April) earthquake in Nepal” that killed tens of thousands. He “called for restraint and restoration of peace and order. He appealed to the government, all political parties and the people of Nepal to eschew violence and maintain social harmony”.
Modi also “lauded the historic progress that Nepal had made in the peace process and drafting its constitution”. He said the political leadership of Nepal should resolve all issues through a dialogue between political parties and by widest consultations, including with the public. This, he said, would strengthen the climate of trust and confidence between various sections of society. As a neighbour, India would do all it can for Nepal’s security, he added. Modi assured Koirala “that India’s one and only desire was to see the emergence of a peaceful, secure, stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal, which draws strength from its rich social diversity, enormous resources and extraordiry talent”.
India, he said, would continue to provide all support to Nepal to achieve that goal. Nepal’s army has been deployed in western Nepal to maintain law and order. The protesters were seeking a separate Tharuhat province domited by people from the Tharu community. Nepal has been witnessed violent protests over the past two weeks in which half a dozen people have been killed over the issue of federalism.
Many political parties and stakeholders have opposed the six province model of federalism agreed to by the ruling Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and the Madhesi Jadhikar Forum-Loktantrik. Federalism has been a key bone of contention as Nepal is in its fil leg of the constitution drafting process. According to reports, the Tharu community is upset that the Kailali and Kanchanpur districts are out of the proposed Tharuhat province. (IANS)