Tarai-Madhes has been Engulfed by Injustice and Violence

The human rigts situation in the Tarai-Madhes is not good. People stll fear that violence of the passt might recur. Explosions and abductions are not uncomman. Governmental indifference towards the rights abuses and violations continues. In this context INFORMAL had collected view points from across the country on the problems of the Tarai-Madhes. The representative and edited views:

 

1308817137Nageshwor Prasad Singh

Advocate, Biratnagar

The human rights situation in the country is further deteriorating. We dont see any meaningful attempts from the Government of Nepal towards the protection and promotion of human rights in the Tarai-Madhes. The government has failed to provide knowledge to the ordinary people on human rights. Similarly, ordinary people are compelled to face the human rights abuses and the resultant pains perpetrated by criminal groups. Surprisingly, the Government has been a silent spectator and, sometimes, even the governmental agencies have abetted the criminal activities being attracted by economic benefits. This has deprived the people to enjoy their rights. Tarai-Madhes has been engulfed by injustice and violence. Killings, donation and extortion sprees and the corruptions are deeply rooted. Ordinary people have not felt the presence of the Government in the region. One can easily predict how the human rights situation is like under such circumstances.

Each state has to guarantee that its people will live in a society where there is a guarantee of peace, security and a social structure without discriminations. However, the Government of Nepal has failed to guarantee this to the people of Tarai-Madhes. The Tarai uprisings of the past were the result of peoples long-collected grievances. There are and were several Madhes-based parties in the Governance even after the uprisings but the problems of the Tarai-Madhes have not been resolved, rather, crimes have been committed in broad day light. There is direct or indirect involvement of police administration in many of the criminal cases committed in the Tarai-madhes region. Similarly, ever since the Maoists started war against the state and Jaya Krishna Goit carried out his armed activities in an underground way for the rights and benefit of the people, there started groupism within the parties and those who joined the parties for the economic benefits resorted to killing, violence, extortion and abduction for ransoms. Such activities have continued hindering the ordinary people to enjoy their rights unobstructed. These continued criminal activities have forced many rural people to leave their places of origin for their safety.

Open border is one of the causes of increasing criminal activities in the Tarai, however, it is difficult to affirm that this is the only one cause. I assume, criminals have been benefitted in two ways. First, it is easy for the criminals to transport weapons due to openness and, second, it is equally easy to go beyond the border after committing crime in Nepal. Many crimes in the region are the result of internal and local causes.

All the political parties of the country have endeavored to hit high governmental post and earn. Tarai-based political parties too cannot be exception in connection with this. Many Madhesis sacrificed their lives and many others were disabled during Tarai uprisings, however, the Tarai based parties are using the plight of the people as a means of earning. I dont think the Madhes based-parties have been helpful to guarantee the rights of the Tarai people. The other parties such as the UCPN-Maoists and CPN UML should also be equally responsible for the protection of rights of the people in the Tarai region. If the Tarai-based parties try to discourage the criminal activities that are taking place in the region, they can minimize the activities. The Tarai-based political parties are also responsible for the degrading human rights situation in the region.

The incidents of explosions that have recently taken place on public vehicles can never be tolerated. These do not have political motives as well but have terrorized people. If the Government realizes the spirit of the peoples movement II and the uprisings in Tarai-Madhes, long existing problems of the Tarai-Madhes can be resolved. We have to have our efforts to resolve the problems constitutionally. The problems related to the Tarai-Madhes cannot be addressed through formulation of laws only. People of Tarai are not sure that rhetoric and practice of the political leaders in Governance will resolve the problems. The agreements reached between the Government and the Madhes based political parties in the past have to be abided by. Formulation of laws for resolving the problems of the Tarai-Madhes will be pertinent if only the issues addressed by the agreements are incorporated in the new constitution.

 

1308817186Manoj Bachan

Vice President,

Human Rights Alliance, Kathmandu District Branch

 

The human rights situation in the Tarai districts is critical. Incidents of rights violations take place every day in almost every district. Whether that be the Morang district in the east or Dang and Kailali in the west, there occur incidents every day. Perpetrators of grave rights violations have not been punished. State has failed to respond these incidents due to high level of impunity in the country. The state has been so weak or irresponsible now that it has failed to look into the issues of the Tarai-Madhes sensitively. Of the 109 criminal groups active in the Tarai-Madhes, some of them bear political agendas but at the lowest level the situation is criminalized badly. Tarai-Madhes has been a region with the worst human rights situation in South Asia.

The scope of human rights has been widened. Besides civil and political; economic, social and cultural rights; human rights encompass rights to development, self-determination and access to service and resources. Depriving the youths in the Tarai-Madhes of participating in mobilizing the resources available in the region has also created problems. Extrajudicial killings or armed conflict get connected with such deprivation one way or the other. Localizing development can localize conflict and solve it slowly. The problems of the Tarai-Madhes can never be solved through armed rebellion and the use of army and police. The situation now is that despite deployment of police and armed forces, crimes have not been abated in the region.

Open border is one of the causes of crimes in the Tarai-Madhes; however, this is wrong to assume it as the main cause. Madhesis lack access to the resources available in their region. They also lack access at the decision making level. They have failed to initiate their development as per their needs. Open border seems to be allowing the criminal activities; however, such openness has benefitted the state mechanism one way or the other. So far as the role of the Tarai-Madhes based political parties are concerned, they represent only 23 per cent votes in the Constituent Assembly whereas 77 per cent is the share of the national parties. So, there is stronghold of the national parties in the region. When we talk about the Tarai-Madhes based political parties and their roles in bettering human rights situation in the region, the parties have been unable to address the rights situation of the region. Most of the parties in the Tarai-Madhes are formed based on the Madhes movement. So, neither have they been completely institutionalized nor are in the capacity to address the problems seen in the region. However, the Maoists, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have stronghold and, if interested, they can address the problems efficiently. But, the problem is that the parties have not perceived the existing rights problems of the Tarai-Madhes as their own. Madhes based elites are there in the parties but they too have not come out of their corresponding party line in the matter of perceiving the issues of the Tarai-Madhes.

The latest incidents of explosions that occurred in the Tarai-Madhes are criminal activities. These have to be stopped at any cost. However, these explosions bear some sort of dynamics. The changes experienced in the central level politics fluctuates the degree of the incidents of explosion in the Tarai-Madhes. The impacts of explosions are seen in Kathmandu. So, the explosions should not be seen in isolation taking them as the problem of the Tarai-Madhes alone. Owning responsibility of the explosions by one particular party over telephone is one thing and testing authenticity is quite another. We have never probed into the authenticity of the claims.

The problems connected with the Tarai-Madhes have to be solved constitutionally and legally. If we really are trying to address the problem of armed conflict in the Tarai-Madhes through democratic tools and address the voices of inclusion, we have to pass through four theoretical steps. Firstly, we have to have constitutional and legal changes, Secondly, there has to take place structural changes, thirdly there needs capacity building and then only we can make the state mechanism inclusive. The problem of the Tarai-Madhes is not that much big neither is the problem of the armed groups. Its wrong to expect peace in the Tarai-Madhes by endorsing agreements with some particular armed groups. This trend will never solve the problem. So, the problems of the Tarai-Madhes have to be solved legally and constitutionally.

The problem of the Tarai-Madhes is the problem of this country. Constitution has to be promulgated and federalism has to be demarcated based on the spirit of the Tarai-Madhes movement.

 

1308817229Dr. Bishwo Kalyan Parajuli

Associate Professor,Prithvi Narayan Campus, Pokhara

 

We cannot get a clear situation of human rights in the country by isolating the rights situation of Tarai-Madhes. Human rights situation in the country refers more to the rights situation in the Tarai-Madhes. So, we have to understand accordingly. Nepal is a state party to different conventions; however, implementation level is in a sorry state. Constitution writing process has failed to gain momentum and the whereabouts of the people subjected to enforced disappearances are still unknown. The issues such as guarantee of security and the human security, among others, have remained unaddressed. Precisely, anarchy and impunity has flourished taking advantage of transitional period and people are unsure of their rights due to fear and insecurity.

We have to first understand socio-cultural structure of the Tarai-Madhes before understanding the overall situation of human rights there. Any conclusive remarks made about the Tarai-Madhes without understanding these aspects will be incomplete as well as false. Human security, untouchability, the problems of the religious minorities, identity of the Madhes and Madhesis and their social and cultural rights are the main human-rights related problems of Tarai-Madhes. Similarly, discriminations against women, dowry system, the linguistic issues, unsatisfactory educational situation, the soaring unemployment, series of explosions, abduction, killings and the resultant terrors are the other problems of the Tarai-Madhes.

Due to the factors such as the provision of open border between Nepal and India, lack of education and unemployment, the criminal activities have not been checked in the Tarai-Madhes. Rather, these activities have been intensified in the backdrop of lack of education, poverty and unemployment. The protracted transition and the unstable state mechanism has further nurtured such activities in the region. Its the political leadership of Madhes, who has to create an environment for the guarantee of human rights in the region. Similarly, the political leadership has to play role for the implementation, protection and promotion of human rights. It is worth mentioning here that in the absence of political will power of the Madhes-based political parties criminal activities in the region cannot be controlled. There has to come commitments from the political parties as to protecting human rights by checking criminalization of politics and politicization of crimes.

The incidents of explosions that have occurred in the region recently are the criminal activities aimed at keeping the country unstable and taking advantage inappropriately of the transition. The democratic government that is formed following the end of present transition will control such activities easily. As the country is in the transitional period, problems exist not only in the Tarai-Madhes but also everywhere in the country. So, intense, serious and special interactions have to be held with the grassroots people and civil society. Discussions have to be held about the constitutional provisions regarding the problems of the Tarai-Madhes only after determining the form of governance and restructuring the state. The representation and inclusion of Madhes is necessary in every sector of national life. The Tarai-Madhes, which is known as the Granary of foodstuffs and famous for forest, has been suffering from environmental degradation and desertification gradually. So, it is urgent that besides exploitating resources, we have to come up with a long-term plan for the wise management and renewal of the resources there. This will work as a basis to avoid possible human rights related problems that will emerge in the future.

 

1308817251Bishwajit Tiwari

President,

Banke District Court Bar Association

 

Human rights situation in Tarai is not satisfactory, its critical. There are many rights related problems in the region; numbers of problems have engulfed Tarai. However, impunity, unemployment, lack of education, poverty and the mismanagement resulted from political instability are directly linked with the problems here. Disregard to rule of law and flouting law are not uncommon. The agencies meant to maintain law and order do not seem responsible for their assigned jobs. At the same time, political leadership also does not seem to be assisting in bettering law and order in the region. The incidents of explosions that have occurred lately in the Tarai can never be affirmed. These incidents have cowed the general life in the plain geography that extends east to west to the southern part of Nepal. Such incidents are directly responsible for the human rights violations of the people living in the Tarai-madhes. Many of the factors and actors responsible for degrading rights situation in the Tarai region can be controlled via the existing laws and also by formulating legislation. However, people here are too optimistic that the problems in the Tarai-Madhes will be answered once a new constitution is promulgated in the country. The Government of Nepal has to come up with an action plan to solve the overall problems faced by the people of Tarai. This only will solve the problems such as impunity, unemployment, lack of education, poverty and the mismanagements resulted from political instability.

 

1308817272Shiva Raj Pandey

President, Appellate Court Bar Association,Kanchanpur

 

The overall human rights situation in the Tarai-Madhes region is critical and in a sorry state.There are many human rights related problems in the region. However,armed criminal groups and their activiteis have been the main problems in the region now. Tarai has been a playground for the armed groups, which are having their activities under the political cover. Open border is mainly responsible for the criminal incidents that occur in the region. However, as we do not see the impact of open border in all parts of the Tarai, the presence and proliferation of armed groups in the Tarai-madhes region who have proximity with the armed groups across the border is mainly responsible for the on- going criminal activities in the region. So far as the cooperation and non-cooperation of the Madhes-based political parties as to controlling crimes and guaranteeing human rights is concerned, the roles of the political parites in the Tarai-Madhes are not stable. Situation in the region is further worsening gradually. The latest incidents of explosion on the public vehicles targetting the ordinary people are indicative of this fact. The incidents of explosion are the result of activation of the armed groups that are indifferent towards human rights. Views have been expressed that the existing problems of Tarai have to be solved through the new constitution but I dont believe the overall problems of the Tarai-Madhes will be solved constitutionally alone.