01/28/2008, 00.00
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Kathmandu: Madhesi attack pro-government demonstration, more than 20 people hurt

by Kalpit Parajuli
Members of the southern Nepali ethnic group protest against the upcoming Constituent Assembly for not respecting the points of view of minorities. Government calls for dialogue, Madhesi pledge three more days of violence.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Violent protests against the new Nepali Constituent Assembly continue for not respecting the needs and points of view of the country’s ethnic minorities.  Last Saturday ethnic Madhesi attacked a demonstration organised by the ruling government coalition, seriously hurting at least 21 political leaders.

The Madhesi, a group originally from India made up of Hindu, Muslims and Christians, represent about half of the population of 27 million Nepalis, and live primarily in the southern plains of the country.

In recent months they have fought hard to have their rights recognised and to put an end to 238 years of political and social hegemony by a Hindu caste, the Pahadi, who inhabit the hill regions. Many Maoist leaders are of Pahadi extraction.

The attack was not limited to demonstrators. According to police, the Madhesi placed explosive charges across Kathmandu. Three exploded, fortunately without causing any casualties.

Before the attack the Madhesi had urged the population not to take part in the demonstration.

The caretaker government led by a seven-party “Alliance for a New Nepal” called on the police to use “every” means at its disposal to prevent other attacks. It also addressed Madhesi leaders asking them to “stop the violence and sit down to work out a deal.”

A Madhesi spokesperson responded by saying that their action however violent will continue for another three days.

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See also
Nepali nationalists call for vice-president’s resignation
People killed in protests by Nepal’s “Indians” against constitution that ignores them
Hindus from India and Nepal demonstrate in favour of the restoration of Nepal’s religious monarchy
First agreement between government and Maoist leaders
Parliament unanimously approves proposal to hold elections to a new constituent assembly


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