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Nepal Oppn mounts pressure to sack Defence Min

Nepal`s main opposition parties disrupted parliament for the fourth consecutive day to mount pressure govt to dismiss Defence Minister SS Bhandari.

Updated: Oct 17, 2011, 22:11 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal`s main opposition parties
on Sunday disrupted parliament for the fourth consecutive day to
mount pressure on the Maoist-led government to dismiss Defence
Minister SS Bhandari for making "secessionist remarks".

Relentless pressure by the opposition parties had forced
the government yesterday to sack Land Reforms Minister Prabhu
Sah, a senior Maoist leader accused of involvement in the
murder of a Hindu activist Kashinath Tiwari, the chairman of
Yuva Sangh, in Birgunj last year.

Bhandari, leader of Terai-based Madhesi Peoples Rights
Forum (Democratic) has sparked a row in the country by alleged
remarks that some 22 districts of the southern plains would be
separated from Nepal if the Madhesi’s demand for forming a
separate unit within the Nepal Army is not fulfilled.

Though Bhandari had disowned the alleged ‘secessionist
remarks’, saying that his statement was twisted by the media,
the main opposition Nepali Congress party and CPN-UML, the
third largest party in the House, have taken a firm stand on
the issue.

They said opposition parties will not the allow the House
to function unless Bhandari steps down.

Nepal`s Terai plains are home to about half of the
country`s 30 million people, and the residents of the region,
known as Madhesis, have long complained of discrimination by
the country`s hill communities.

The pro-Terai parties argue that people in the Madhesi-
dominated southern plains have long been treated as
second-class citizens in Nepal, where hill-origin elites
dominate politics, the security forces and business.

They have demanded greater economic and political
rights, including more representation in the state structure
and the army.

PTI