Nepal hopeful of talks with Madhesis over federal structure:FM

 Nepal today said it was still hopeful of talks with the disgruntled Madhesi parties, hours after India and the US expressed concern over violent protests by minority groups protesting the seven province federal model under the new Constitution.

PTI| Updated: Sep 15, 2015, 21:05 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal today said it was still hopeful of talks with the disgruntled Madhesi parties, hours after India and the US expressed concern over violent protests by minority groups protesting the seven province federal model under the new Constitution.

"I am still hopeful that talks can be held with the disgruntled Madhesi parties even as the constitution drafting process moves forward," Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said.

The minister also dismissed the view that Madhesi people are dissatisfied with the constitution drafting and they are left out from the process that has been going on since 2008.

"Out of the some 130 Constituent Assembly (CA) members from the Madhesi region, representatives of various political parties including Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist are taking part in the constitution drafting process.

"The number of CA members representing the Joint Madhesi Front, that is boycotting the Constitution drafting process is just 60," he said.

The minister's call for talks came even as he announced that a Federal, Democratic and Republican constitution of Nepal will be promulgated on September 20.
Meanwhile, the protests continue unabated in the Souther Nepal plains, bordering India.

The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha today organised a massive 'baton rally' in Malangwa, the district headquarters of Sarlahi, to express dissatisfaction over constitution promulgation process.

Violent protests by Madheshi parties, who are unhappy with the seven-province model proposed in the new constitution, have claimed nearly 40 lives including 11 police officers.
India and the US have urged Nepal yesterday to use restraint in responding to protests.

"India is concerned over the ongoing protests and strife in Nepal. We urge continuing flexibility on the part of all the political forces so that any outstanding issues are addressed through dialogue, in an atmosphere free from violence," Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said in a statement yesterday.