President, Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, Nepal
Upendra Yadav, must not be a new name for the regular readers of this newspaper. He is a simple, modest, educated and perceptible human being. He is the one surely who brought about a sort of earthquake in the otherwise peaceful Terai belt of this country. It was under his august leadership the entire Terai/Madeshi people surprisingly converged together this time and demanded the rights from the State that were their rightful due. In the process, the movement initiated under his leadership paralyzed the entire nation and the government under Koirala had to accede to some of their demands as a result of which there has been the formation of an government commission under minister Mahanta Thakur, which is trying to bring all the leaders of the Madhesi movement together in order to sort out the grievances raised by the various communities living in Terai/Madhesh.
Mr. Yadav was born in a village called Bhagbatpur, Saptari district. His fluency in English language is excellent and possesses the capability to leave a positive impression on the friends meeting him even for the first time.
This Sunday afternoon, our chief editor located Upendra Yadav and convinced him to grant an interview to this paper. Upendra Yadav was kind enough to manage some thirty minutes from his tight schedule. Below the results: Editor
TGQ1: Mr. Yadav could you be kind enough to shed light on some of the major objectives of the movement that is currently on in the Terai under your leadership?
Yadav: Well, our movement first wants the total abolition of the Unitary and the
TGQ2: Please elaborate the objectives so that the people could understand the dynamics of your movement? Will you please?
Yadav: To be candid, our movement demands proportional electoral system in place. In addition we would very much like to have Regional autonomy. By regional autonomy I mean we want to go in for the formation of autonomous states, like province in neighboring
TGQ3: Your demands give an impression that you want a separate state? Is it that or you mean different than what I could get? Your comments please.
Yadav: You are absolutely wrong. We have not even thought of that. You took it differently. However, the fact is that, let me put it authoritatively; we want our demands to be met with by the State without effecting a secession from the State. Ours is not a separatist demand. Don’t get confused. We want our demands to be fulfilled by the country. We want, contrary to what has been given to understand by a section of the interested quarters, to strengthen the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of this country. We have been demanding the rights as per the basis of the established universal rights enshrined in the various Human Rights Charters. Our demands are justifiable according to HR principles that are in vogue in the world. We differ with the Maoists in this count. If you recall, they had once raised the issue of the “right to separation”. Ours is not that. Is that clear to you?
TGQ4: Comrade Prachanda had no good words neither for you nor for your movement. How do you like to react to his comments? And also tell us about the much publicized”penetration” of the unwanted elements in your movement as is being given to understand? Your remarks please.
Yadav: A personality of his political standing and stature must not have told the media as he did. It was really unfortunate. He dubbed the entire Madhesis and their movement in a degrading manner. Madhesi, escapists, dacoits, hoodlums were some of the words he had coined for us. He is answerable to the Madhesi people. He must apologize as he has hurt the sentiments of the Terai/Madhesi people.
As if this was not enough, Prachanda even suggested the establishment to crush the Terai movement through the use of military force wherein he even pledged that he would deploy some one thousand militias from his side if the government deployed just double of that figure.
I see Prachanda’s expressions to have come in that fashion which only establishes that he was speaking in a tone which is loaded with “militancy” mindset. In addition to that it is also now clear that he has established himself as an opponent to Madheshis. He talked and took our movement in a light manner. To a grave question, his contentions were comparatively very shabby one. Let me make it plain to you. If the army is used in order to crush our movement, take it for granted that would be really an unfortunate event. If that does happen, chances will remain there for the disintegration of the country.
Our detractors even alleged that there had been the infiltration of foreigners, Hindu extremists and that the movement remained no longer in the control of the Forum.
Look, no foreigners were traced during the course of the movement. Nor it was established that the movement was penetrated in by the Hindu extremists.
Look the contrast. This movement saw the maximum participation of the Muslims. The Muslim community lost some precious lives. What does it mean?
As regards the penetration of certain nasty elements, look at what the different commissions formed have come up with their reports. The commission that was composed of practically the Brahmins have made it clear that they found no penetration of any element or whatsoever during the course of the movement. What does it mean?
Now talking about the rumor that the movement was not in our control, look how things changed the moment we told our friends that the movement stood suspended. Does not this mean that the movement was completely under our control or say grip?
TGQ5: The Maoists suspect that you managed the arrests of Matrika Yadav and Suresh Aley Magar in
Yadav: Let me tell you the truth. Both Matrika and Suresh Aley Magar were kept in a safe and secured place. The question should be how the police came to know about this secret place? It is also noteworthy that except me, the two Maoists leaders had red corner notice on them. To drag me in this case unnecessarily is really unfortunate.
But then yet, I too was nabbed by the
Thanks that one elderly leader of
I don’t understand as to why the Maoists have taken our movement in a different way. Let me be honest that our movement is not directed against the Maoists. This is purely against the State’s discrimination meted out to the Terai/Madheshi population. I think they-the Maoists- have understood the movement wrongly.
As regards the immediate ouster of home minister Sitaula, well! He is the one who should be held responsible and made accountable for the Nepalganj carnage. He must resign. Any probe commission formed to record the damage done in the entire Terai/Madhesi movement would be free and fair only when he resigns. His presence in the ministry, I am afraid, will bring out facts.
Finally, I just want to say your readers that let us carry this movement against the policies of the State. However, in doing so care must be taken that the cordial harmony that exists in between us all does not get disturbed. Communal harmony must be preserved. I would say, communal harmony must not be disturbed in any circumstances.