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Nepali gov't, UDMF ink deal
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20:49, February 28, 2008

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Nepali government and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) Thursday afternoon inked an eight-point agreement following decisive talks in Nepali capital Kathmandu.

UDMF hence called off its 16-day agitation since Feb. 13 after the signing of the pact.

According to local media group's website THT Online, both sides agreed to reach a consensus on UDMF's charter of demands.

From the government side, Nepali Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and from the UDMF side, Rajendra Mahato, Upendra Yadav and Mahanta Thakur signed the deal in front of members of the civil society, human rights activists and media persons.

According to the report, the eight-point agreement includes:

1. Madhes and other federal states would be recognized as autonomous regions;

2. Implementation of the constitutional provision regarding equal representation of all marginalized groups in all sectors of the governance;

3. Proportional recruitment of the Madhesi and other marginalized people in the Nepal Army;

4. Giving martyr's status to all Madhesis killed in the course of the Madhes agitation;

5. State-funded medical treatment and compensation for the injured in Madhes agitation;

6. Inviting other armed outfits of the Terai to a negotiation table;

7. Implementing the 23-point agreement reached with Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) as soon as possible;

8. Amendment of Constituent Assembly (CA) Election Act to replace the provision of 20 percent for the Madhesis and other groups with 30 per cent.

The 23-point agreement was signed on August 30, 2007 between Nepali government and MPRF to end the strikes called on by the latter in south Nepal since Jan. 16. MPRF then claimed that the Interim Constitution signed on Jan. 15, 2007 did not safeguard Madhesi people's rights.

UDMF is an alliance of three major Madhes-based parties -- MPRF, Terai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP). Formerly, it put forth a six-point demand to the government and required that to be met and included in amended Interim Constitution before the CA elections. UDMF has been pushing the demand met by calling on indefinite strike in Terai region since Feb. 13.

The strike and sporadic curfew has affected preparation for theCA poll and normal life around the country severely. Five people were reportedly killed in the unrest.

Madhesi people are the Nepalese mainly living in south Nepal's Terai plains, who are socio-culturally close to the bordering Indians.

Source: Xinhua

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