Nepal parties object to Indian diplomat’s remarks

Maneesh Shrestha, TNN, KATHMANDU: Nepal political parties were in arms Friday against reports of an Indian diplomat inciting politicians from southern Nepal to “create a storm” over federal issues in the region.

Political parties representing the Madhes in southern Nepal have demanded that the Tuesday’s agreement on 11-province federal model in the constitution be rescinded since it breaks up the Madhes in five regions, thus diluting the Madhesi parties’ power. They want the Madhes to be two regions.There have been general strikes in different parts of southern Nepal for the past few days over it and other federal issues.

Nepal’s largest selling daily newspaper on Friday reported that S.D. Mehta an official at the Indian consulate general’s office in Birgunj, a city on the Indo-Nepal border, had met politicians from across region at a local hotel on Thursday and incited them to take to the streets and assured them that India would help.

The three main parties that met Friday to discuss the amendment of the constitution expressed concern over Mehta’s remarks, according to leaders at the meeting.

Maoist vice chairman Nayayan Kaji Shrestha said that the remarks were “a serious intervention in [Nepal’s] internal affairs” and would ask India to recall Mehta. Reports say that Maoist leader Pusha Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” met Indian ambassador Jayant Prasad and brought up the issue but the Indian embassy did not verify it.

However, in a statement, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said the remarks attributed to Mehta were “misleading and factually incorrect”.

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