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Nepal declared a federal State

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
February 08, 2007 01:59 IST
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Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Wednesday night said the major political parties, including the Maoists, have unanimously agreed to meet the key demands of the protesters of Terai region and declare the nation a federal State.

In his address to the nation on conclusion of the eight- party meeting, Koirala said the government will immediately amend the Constitution to fulfill the genuine demands of the Terai people.

Koirala also called the agitating groups in Terai to withdraw their movement and come to the negotiating table for resolving the issue through peaceful means of dialogue.

He said the government will delineate the constituency on the basis of population and geographical specialty and increase the seat for Terai during the Constituent Assembly election on the basis of increased population.

The prime minister said that arrangement will be made to give equal share to all sections of society, including Madhesis, Dalits and various ethnic groups in all the structures of the state.

Koirala said the interim Constitution will be amended very soon to accommodate the demands of the Terai people.

He appealed to all people including the agitating groups to assist in conducting the Constituent Assembly polls slated for June to build a new Nepal. Koirala also paid homage to those killed during the Terai movement.

At least 25 people were killed over the past three weeks of agitation launched by the Madhesi People's Rights Forum and Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha.

Senior political leaders including CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepali Congress (Democratic) general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi and Nepal Sadbhavana Party have welcomed the address, saying it would resolve the issue raised by the Madhesi community.

"This will resolve the problems of Terai as it has fulfilled the demands raised by the Madhesis," NSPF general secretary Rajendra Mahato said.

The government has sent letters to all three agitating groups of Terai to invite them for talks, highly placed sources said.

Earlier in the day, two persons were killed and scores of others injured when police opened fire on hundreds of violent protestors in Terai region.

Police opened fire after agitators defied curfew and hurled petrol bombs at the personnel at Singhiya Khola bridge in the industrial town of Biratnagar. The agitators also tried to storm a prison where a former minister in Royal cabinet Badri Prasad Mandal was being held.

Mandal was arrested on charges of provoking unrest in Terai. Two persons were killed in the firing while 20 policemen and a dozen protestors were also injured as the agitators clashed with the police during the curfew hours, the police said.
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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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