KATHMANDU, May 21: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar of United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) have jointly appealed to various agitating groups to exercise restraint and not incite friction among various communities.
Issuing a joint statement on Monday, the four political leaders have urged the agitating groups to raise their valid demands in a democratic fashion, while at the same time exercising restraint.
"We are ready to address the demands raised by various communities through discussions and dialogue," reads the joint statement.
"Therefore we urge the leaders from indigenous and ethnic communities including the Tharu community, the Broader Madhesi Front and various other agitating groups to withdraw all their protest programs and cooperate in the constitution writing process."
The leaders denounced the attacks on media persons and political party leaders and cadres, and the vandalising of public property during the protests.
They also urged the agitating groups to remain alert against elements out to incite riots so that the task of constitution writing would remain incomplete and they could fish in troubled waters. "In such a situation the country will be pushed toward instability and we all will be the losers. Therefore, this is the hour to uphold social harmony through respect for each other´s demands and aspirations and to not come under the sway of emotions," said the statement.
Meanwhile, issuing a separate statement Monday, NC Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Paudel denounced attacks carried out on journalists from dozens of media houses and political leaders such as Bhim Rawal of CPN-UML, and the vandalising of NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi´s house.
"The situation at Imadol in Lalitpur has not returned to normal so far after some violent activities that could have undermined communal harmony took place [Monday morning]," said Paudel in his statement.
He also took strong exception to the threats issued against journalists by a responsible leader from the organization enforcing the general strike. "Incidents such as attacking of journalists for racial reasons never took place in the past. Such activities have raised fears of communal violence," he said.
CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal, also issuing a separate statement, denounced attacks on journalists, vehicles and media outlets.
"CPN-UML demands that the organizations enforcing the general strike stop such activities immediately and denounces the passivity of the government as the authorities have remained mute spectators even as a series of attacks were taking place against the media," reads Khanal´s statement. Former prime minister Khanal also demanded that the government compensate those who incurred material losses during the protests.