KATHMANDU, MAY 21 – Talks expected between the government and the agitating ethnic groups did not take place on Sunday due to the insistence of agitators to sit only with the prime minister. The Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Nefin) has decided to give continuity to its announced protest programme.
The group has stated it will not stop the scheduled programme even while sitting in talks with the prime minister. Nefin chairman Rajkumar Lekhi said a dialogue is likely on Monday afternoon. “If everything goes well and a positive call comes from the prime minister, the ethnic groups are likely to sit for talks by Monday midday,” said Lekhi.
“I would like to make it clear that we are not stopping the ongoing programme at any cost. We will be engaged both in talks and demonstrations.”
The Janajati leaders said they were deceived earlier owing to their liberal move. They said they would not be fooled this time, nor would backtrack.
Meanwhile, following the refusal of the agitating ethnic groups to talk to anyone except the prime minister and leaders of top parties, the prime minister’s office is preparing for a dialogue. “The matter is being discussed but the date is yet to be fixed,” a PMO source said.
Despite the PMO’s affirmative gesture to the group’s call, the talks were not scheduled as of 10pm.
Peace and Reconstruction Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi on Saturday urged Nefin to call off their ongoing strike and to come to the negotiating table.
Meanwhile, at a press meet organised at the Reporters’ Club on Sunday, the agitating indigenous leaders said they would sit for talks only with a team comprised of the prime minister and leaders of top political parties.
Nefin General Secretary Aangkaji Sherpa, joint struggle committee secretariat coordinator Parshuram Tamang and other speakers refused a dialogue with other officials or political leaders.
The ethnic communities have demanded ethnicity-based federation with special recognition of ethnic communities. The communities are against the decision of the government to enlist Bahun-Chhetris as indigenous nationalities.Roshan Sedhaiekantipur