TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: Talks between representatives of Indigenous Nationalities’ Joint Struggle Committee, government’s talks team and top leaders of major parties today ended without making any headway.
According to Aang Kaji Sherpa, one of the 31 members representing indigenous communities, top leaders of NC and UML were reluctant to make commitment to address the agitators’ demands. “Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, however, stood strongly for our demands,” said Sherpa.
The government talks team that included Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Ministers Radha Gyawali, Suryaman Gurung and Mahendra Raya had come up with a draft of an agreement which rejected single identity-based federal structure. “They have agreed for identity-based federalism but were against the single identity. Besides they said they will take initiative only for right to self-determination and autonomy,” said Sherpa.
Sherpa, however, added that the indigenous groups will put forth the proposed draft of agreement before the central executive committee of the joint struggle committee, which comprises 59 organisations, and will make some changes before presenting it to the government for negotiations. “The general strike will continue tomorrow as well,” said Sherpa.
The indigenous groups agreed to sit for talks today after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai pledged to free all those who were arrested during yesterday’s bandh and provide free treatment to injured agitators.
The indigenous groups have called a three-day bandh, today being the second day. They are demanding identity-based federal constitution by May 27, guarantee of right to self-determination, pre-emptive political rights, ethnic autonomy, fully proportional and inclusive election system and proportional representation of all the ethnic groups at all the state organs. Earlier today, top leaders of major political parties had appealed to all agitating groups, including Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, to call off their general strike.
Meanwhile, NEFIN Chairman Raj Kumar Lekhi said the indigenous groups were ready to facilitate movement of lawmakers during the strike.
CA meetings on Sunday and Monday were called off due to the three-day bandh called by NEFIN.