Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Thursday said fresh anti-government agitation by the Madhesis was "not necessary" at a time the country was still recovering from last year's devastating quakes even as minority groups launched the second round of protests.
"The agitation launched by the Madhesis and other ethnic groups was not necessary at this time," Oli said on the sidelines of a grand International Buddhist conference.
"The government believes in resolving the issue related with the Madhesis and the ethnic groups through talks," he said.
The new Constitution has already been promulgated and if they have any grievances, the government has called them for talks in the past, he added.
His remarks came amid a fresh round of agitation by the Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, mainly to protest against the seven-province federal model enshrined in the new statute.
The minority had led a nearly six-month-long violent protest over better representation in the Parliament and the federal structure of the Constitution that divides their ancestral homeland.
The agitation that began last year also witnessed blockade of key border trade points with India and claimed over 50 lives before being called off unexpectedly just before Oli's maiden visit to India but the impasse is far from over. The agitating Madhesi Front has rejected the government's earlier call for talks and asked the ruling coalition to create a "conducive atmosphere" for dialogue to end the political crisis plaguing the country as it went ahead with the first phase of protests, in a bid to bring the waning
Madhesi movement back to the limelight, which ended yesterday.
The first day of their second phase of programme, however, witnessed a low turnout. The protests have been launched by the Federal Alliance, that led Kathmandu-centric agitation for the past six days to press for demands relating to rights and representation of Madhesis and other ethnic groups.
A few hundred people assembled in a protest rally organised by the alliance in Mangalbazaar of Lalitpur district near Kathmandu. However, the programme was largely peaceful.
The twin quakes of last year that killed nearly 9,000 people coupled with hundreds of aftershocks pushed Nepal to the brink, causing widespread devastation and hitting its major tourism sector badly.