Nepal: FAQ commentary on Madhes/Tarai Conflict
Krishna Hari Pushkar
What is Madhes?
Madhesh refers to the Terai region specific to Nepal, approximately 25 to 35 km wide broad belt of alluvial and fertile land stretching from Mahakali river in the west to Mechi river in the east between Indian border in the south and Sivalik/Chure Range in the north. This belt accommodates almost 50% population of Nepal.
Who is Madhesi?
Madheshi is an identity of indigenous inhabitants of Madhesh who in general have distinct social, cultural, and physical structures than the people of Nepal with their origin other than Madhesh and the mother tongue of a Madheshi individual and his/her immediate descendant’s languages are, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Abadhi, Hindi, Bengali, Madwadi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tharu, Magadhi and is eligible to be a citizen of Nepal.
What is Madhes/Tarai Conflict?
It is a crucial ethnocentric war between State and Madhesi ethnic groups in Nepal. Currently, Madhes region of Nepal has been suffering with severe ethno- regional arm and unarmed insurgencies. The causes can be mentioned as crisis of identity, Inclusion, development, mainstreaming, self-determination, power-sharing, recognition, dignity and human rights.
What are the major ongoing issues/demands of Madhesis?
The basic demands of Madhesis are an adequate and respectful inclusion, proportional representation, rights of self determination, one Madhesh-one State, free from racial, social cultural, political and administrative discriminations, power sharing, Madhes governance and Madhes government etc.
Who are the major warrior parties/groups of Madhes?
More than two dozens of armed and unarmed warrior groups and parties are intensively active in Madhes. However, all parties/ groups and their demands are yet to be clearly identified. Though, the major identified arm insurgents are know as, Tarai Janatantric Tarai Mukti Morcha(JTMM: Goit), JTMM (Jwala Singh), JTMM (Bishfot Singh), Madhesi Mukti Morcha, Madhesi Tiger, Tarai Cobra Group, Madhes Mukti Force, Tarai Tiger, Madhes Army, AASK Group, TM Don group, Virus Clean Groups, Anti Terrorist group, Madhesi defence brigade etc. Some unarmed hardcore groups can be also listed as Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MPRF), MPRF (Gupta/Biswas Group), Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Mahto group), Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP), etc and their various paramilitary sister organizations. Besides that some Madhesi based NGOS, Communities, and CBOs are also acting as warrior groups.
What are the major strategies/approaches of the warrior groups to fight against State?
There are two types of clear strategic guidelines of ongoing Madhes turmoil. The arm groups are adopting completely the same strategies taught by previous Maoist Insurgency and other civil political groups complies the similar strategies that were practised successfully during the Second Peoples’ Movement -2006.
Why did the Madhes issues just emerge now so violently and intensively?