Kathmandu: Nepal's Sadbhawana Party, a major ally of the Madhesi Front agitating over re-demarcation of the seven-province federal model in the new Constitution, on Sunday announced a separate protest programme in southern Nepal but dismissed reports that it has split from the alliance.
The party also distanced itself from crucial talks this evening with the government over the mistreatment to its president Rajendra Mahato, who was seriously injured during baton-charing by the police in Biratnagar-Jogbani border point where he was leading a group of cadres for a sit-in.
Sadbhawana Party vice-chairman Laxman Lal Karna told PTI his party would not sit for talks unless the government apologises for the incident.
Surprising its allies, the Sadbhawana Party announced new forms of protests in the Terai, scene of the ongoing protests by Madhesis who are largely Indian-origin and have led a blockade of key border trade points with India.
In a series of protest programmes announced unilaterally by the Sadbhawana Party, the party said it will focus on non-violent activities like mass prayers in memory of deceased protestors, fasting, signature campaign and campaigns to
internationalise Madhesi issues through social media, local media reported.
Speculation was rife that the agitating Madhesi Front, an alliance of four Madhes-based parties demanding re-demarcation of the seven- province federal model in the new Constitution, has virtually split due to Sadbhawana Party's planned separate protest programme.
However, Sadbhawana Party vice-chairman Laxman Lal Karna denies the report that there has been split in the Front.
"The news report about the split in the Front is totally false," he said.
Mahato, who sustained injuries in his head and leg, is currently undergoing treatment in Delhi as his condition could not improve during treatment at B P Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan of eastern Nepal.
Now after a couple of days of treatment, his condition has improved from today, Karna said, adding that the government should ask for apology for the incident.
Uprendra Yadav, chairman of the Federal Democratic Front, has criticised Sadbhawana Party's decision. "Sadbhawana Party should not announce its separate protest programmes, which was a blunder," Yadav said.