Madhesi leaders divided over land deal legalization decision

KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) are divided over whether to oppose or defend the recent government´s decision to legalize conflict-era property transactions.

While the ministers representing the Madhesi alliance have defended the decision, others from the alliance have opposed it.

Health Minister and Chairman of Sadbhawana Party (SP) Rajendra Mahato said no one should criticize the government without understanding what the decision entails. Mahato, however, refused to elaborate.

Similarly, Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Dan Bahadur Chaudhari from the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (Nepal) claimed that the government decision is not meant to legalize conflict-era property transactions.

“The government has only decided to waive fees while registering such lands [at the Land Revenue Office] with consent from the concerned stakeholders,” argued Chaudhari, accusing the main opposition parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML of trying to obstruct the peace process and constitution writing on the pretext of protesting the government decision.

Environment Minister Hemraj Tated also from the UDMF said the issue should not be blown out of proportion.

But UDMF leaders have stood against the government decision.

Vice-Chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Republican (MPRF-R) Rajkishor Yadav vented ire over the decision, saying the Madhesi alliance would not accept the government decision. “If the government legalizes conflict-era property deals, we will be under compulsion to legalize other decisions taken by the so-called “people´s government”,” argued Yadav.

He said they would raise the issue in the Madhesi alliance.

Similarly, Vice-chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Brikhesh Chandra Lal said the decision is against the spirit of the peace process. “If the government must clarify what the decision is all about,” opined Lal.

Vice-chairman of SP Laxman Lal Karna also said the government can not take such a decision without amending some existing laws. “If the government has taken such a decision, it is against the existing laws,” added Karna.

Meanwhile, sources at the Ministry of Law and Justice claimed that the Ministry of Land Reforms did not consult the law ministry officials though the issue in question was purely a legal one. It is a general practice for any ministry to turn to the law ministry for advice before taking any such proposal to the cabinet.

“The government should have consulted us to determine if such a decision would confirm to the existing laws,” the source added. by GANI ANSARI from Republica

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