We have been continuously receiving information from the human rights monitors in Terai that there is a danger of clashes between the CPN-UML, the main opposition party and the constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front during UML’s Mechi Mahakali campaign that kicked off yesterday in Jhapa district. There is a deep animosity between the UDMF and the UML. The UML which has been accused by the agitating UDMF as “anti-Madhesis”, aim to gather large mass in Terai districts to refute accusation leveled against it.

The UDMF on the other hand take it as political challenge to let the UML go politically unchallenged during its show of strength campaign. The UDMF constituents have announced that they would retaliate against the UML. The UML has said that it would bring out rallies in Inaruwa (Sunsari), Siraha, Bhardah (Saptari), Janakpur (Dhanusha), Haripur (Sarlahi), Jitpur (Bara) and Garuda (Rautahat), among others during the Mechi-Mahakali campaign. The rallies will take place on different dates; on 7thMarch in Chauharaha (Siraha), 8th March in Janakpur (Dhanusha), on 9th March in Haripur (Sarlahi) and Garuda (Rautahat) and on 10th March in Jitpur (Bara). The dates for Sunsari and Saptari are still unknown.

UDMF have called strike on the same dates to disrupt the UML program. This means both forces could clash in these places, the core districts of Madhes. The program that was scheduled to take place in Rajrangashala, Rajbiraj has been shifted to 3 km North in Gajendra Narayan Singh Industrial area as per the information received. The area has heavy deployment of police personnel.

Sub-Secretary of UML, Pratap Narayan Chaudhary was black painted in Rajbiraj and the vehicle of UML, Member of Parliament, Ranju Jha, was attacked by the agitating mob in Rajbiraj on 2nd March which is an act of condemnation. This shows that the public is in aggression. Therefore, everyone needs to be alert.

Situation in the Terai remains volatile; as the UDMF had announced that it wouldn’t accept local polls, scheduled for May 14 and would rather disrupt them. The UDMF had said that it can accept local polls only if the constitution amendment bill is passed along with increase of fifty percent local bodies in Terai.

THRD Alliance therefore, urges national and international stakeholders including human rights agencies and, members of International Community to persuade political parties particularly the UML and the UDMF to avoid situation that could result in clashes in the Terai. Any acts of provocation in the Terai by any political forces could only worsen the situation in the southern plains.

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