Sitaula team to talk with Far-west region strikers
KATHMANDU, May 7: The government has formed a three-member team under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Sitaula to hold talks with protest organizers in different parts of the country who have been demanding creation of federal provinces of their liking.
The organizers of the indefinite general strike in the far-western region, who have been demanding a separate province consisting nine districts of the region, welcomed the government decision but have refused to call off their strike.
"We will participate in the talks but talks and strike will continue simultaneously because we think the [government] move could be a ploy to foil the strike," said Hari Regmi, media coordinator of the strike organizing committee. The general strike in the region entered its eleventh day.
The government formed the talks team amid crippling parallel strikes by supporters of an undivided farwestern region and Tharu groups that demand a Tharuhat province by including Kailali and Kanchanpur districts.
"We will continue the strike until the talks yield positive results," said Pushpa Raj Joshi, who has been campaigning for an undivided farwestern region for the past four years.
The prime minister´s personal secretary Biswadeep Pandey told Republica that the talks team comprising Sitaula, ministers Barshaman Pun and Mahendra Yadav will also hold dialogue with agitators who have been demanding provinces of their liking in other parts of the country.
Earlier, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Monday appealed to the agitating people of the farwestern region to call off their strike and join talks with the government to discuss the demands.
The prime minister also said the government is working to end the ongoing strikes.
Responding to concerns of lawmakers in the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) meeting on Monday, the prime minister said that the government has invited agitating parties in the region to talks. “The strikes will end by today [Monday] or tomorrow [Tuesday],” he said.
The prime minister said a talks team formed by those demanding undivided farwestern region is already on its way to Kathmandu for talks.
On the occasion, the prime minister also urged all agitating parties to abandon protests that vex the public. “We can resolve all issues peacefully through talks,” he added.