|Tourists were waiting for diesel on the middle of road between Surkhet to Nepalgunj due to shortage of fuel, October 17, 2015
|Meaningful Dialogue is final option of Madhes Movement: A Ground Reality
During early days of December 2015, Kathmandu was so crowded and eventful by celebrating 16 days VAW (violence against women). It is all about promoting human rights of women and girls where men and other stakeholders should hold accountable in various ways. Nevertheless, the situation is just reverse where I was feeling restless by following violations of human rights from both sides; Madhesh Morcha and government since August 15, 2015 along with so much negative thoughts floating over social media. In this connection, I took night bus for eastern Teari while I just finished my treatment for pneumonia.
I had taken bus for Lahan Siraha at first but I drop off at Lalbandhi, Sarlahi at 1.30 am for assessing the tension between two; Madhesh Morcha and Churebhawar. Later, I went to Siraha, Dhanusha, Birgunj, Chitwan. Before trip to eastern terai, I had travelled to Jumla, Kalikot,Surkhet, (October) Dhangadi, and Banke (November). I had observed the scenario, interview with various types of people (street vendor, women, children, youth, school teacher, business women/men, journalists, Madhesh leaders, other political party’s leaders, attaining assemblies organized by Madhes Morcha etc. I used public bus (escorting), van, motor bike, cycle, eco-riksa, foot, flight, while travelling. During about a month trip, stayed five nights at hotel and stayed with friends who were suffering from Madhesh movement and few whom were supporting the Madhes Morcha.
In Lalbandhi, I was following the noise where two young hill origin Madhes women awake up at 5 am and chopping firewood by axe for morning meal. They are teachers in private school, have to take care of assignment of their children, take care of olders, children and household chores. They literally run here and there to accomplish their tasks on time. Both are never use firewood for regular cooking in their life time.
In Siraha, young children are collecting branches of bushes from the road and farm as alternative for cooking gas. The entire market was closed and scarcity of all resources. I observed that three women were in police office to report the violence within two hours. Because of elongated Madheshi Morcha’s protest, men are getting jobless and running out with their money and use substances for reduce their anxiety and use their leisure time. The market was completely closed and few local public vehicles are operating except buses with wedding banners. School children are walking, using motor bikes and bi cycles where 3-4 children were in one.
In Dhanusa, schools were operating in morning where class should start by 6.30 am so mothers put alarm to awake up in morning to prepare food for their children. She used the firewood for entertainment when she was young, now she was using firewood for cooking, always in hurry, anxious with her watery eyes and nose due to smoke. The market is completely closed. A nine grade girl was waiting for purchasing winter shoes for her school since last month, every day she went to market to assess whether the market was open or not. Likewise, the public buses, trucks are completely stop, few tractors and motor bikes are operating during night. The agriculture related equipment such as tractor, thresher are parking on the side of road where as farmers are ploughing, harvesting at field.
In Birgunj, a young chap was running here and there to buy medicine for his 80 years dad who is suffering from cancer. The shops are open but no transactions due to protest and worried about paying rent.
In Chitwan, everything moving and open while having a first look but many shops, hotel are closed due to shortage of resources.
Likewise, the daily life of people was severely affected specially women and children in Dadeldhura, Dhangadi, Bradiya, Jumla, Kalikot, Surkhet, Salyan, Rukum, Banke and Dang.
While travelling from Kathmandu to Siraha in east and Kailali in west, found that business activities shutting down due to shortage of resources. The government supplies of cooking gas is being used by elites again, women and marginalized people spent 12 hours or more to get 7 K.G. cooking gas everywhere. The distribution practice is not fair where women were experiencing abuse and exploitation.
In Kathmandu, my sister who is working woman and has less than a year baby, put alarm as per the schedule of power and awake up to cook meal. She couldn’t follow the direction and rules of distribution of cooking gas.
In Kavre, where the earthquake survivors are living under tarpaulin in such cold without enough food, clothes and all. Due to political unrest, the reconstruction related activities are being severely delayed in parliament as well.
In western Himalayan region which is already in most exclusion, is facing double crisis, no adequate food supply, drugs and other essential supplies. The gallons and gas cylinders are carrying by everyone including public transport.
Everywhere, the mobility is shrunken severely. Usually, people are avoiding their trips unless until there was crisis e.g. a young guy was in same bus while waiting for escorting in Dhalke for attaining his mom’s funeral from Nepalgunj to Jhapa.
The black market is getting institutionalize across the areas of my trip where women, older men and children were sitting on the side of road by keeping 3-10 bottles of petrol. Even the mini grocery shop or tea, hotel, bicycle repair centre were keeping few bottles in front of their house across eastern region. The cooking gas, drugs, petrol shortage found everywhere and the price is very irrational e.g. a cooking gas costs Nrs 3000 in Siraha, Nrs 6000 in Lalbandhi, Nrs 2900 in Dhanusha, Nrs 6000 in Birgunj and Nrs 5000 in Chitwan.
The activists include media, human rights and NGOs are working in high risks/threats. They felt isolation and the situation is being polarize by Kathmandu based activists. Their saying and information are not valued by their Kathmandu based supervisors and others. Meanwhile, the local police, administration and Morcha are threatening when they disseminate information honestly.
The broader was blockade due to Madhes movement, Nepali folks were sitting at 800 meter inside of boarder between India and Nepal. The all kinds of development activities are merely stopped. Even 16 days VAW celebration is cancelled in many districts and done in few districts as formality.
The nationality is deeply rooted with everyone. Both movement supporter and non-supporter including children, older, uneducated etc. are seeking guardianship or equal treatment from government. In general, two thoughts are floating for getting rid of from the situation; many people who are directly involved in protest seemed self-motivated but wanted to conclude the protest with results as they demanded. The other types of people are very anxious towards the situation and scared from the negative course of protest. The understanding of constitution is mixed and have missed feeling of Morcha’s demands as well. In this connection, both types of people are expecting of meaningful dialogue urgently. They feel more in isolation, stateless and also accused to human right organizations and NGOs as donor driven or not speaking up for the violation of such degree of human right. During the four months course, none of the organization is putting pressure for meaningful dialogue whereas the dialogue is only one option for it that is proven by a decade more Maoist conflict as well. In addition, the loss from this strike is more than a decade long Maoist insurgency as well as devastating earthquake 2015.
From the discussion with street vendor, protestor, teacher, housewife etc., there is deep level of mistrust between Kathmandu based and Madhesh based individuals and institutions. Everyone worried about the explosion of such depression and frustration in case no one ready for meaningful dialogue. Even the people who are not involved in Madhes movement, they have deeper level of depression. They found the government and political leaders indecisive, irresponsible, biased and focused towards themselves and their parties. While going through movement, people gradually shaping their minds or educating. Meanwhile the education campaign is reaching out to the village to village in very organize manner where the local radios and Television are fuelling it e.g. the extremists’ thoughts were aired via radio in Janakpur.
As a war survivor, living in conflict along with deprivation of essential materials for daily life is horrified situation, hard to express in word. Each moment is uncertain and every day is a gift from god. There is always feeling of insecurity whether the family members returned or not, whether my family and property safe or not and future of their children and themselves.
The course and context of Madhes movement is totally differ from Maoist insurgency by issues and advancement of information technology and communication. In other hand, it is calming political rights or political concern but not political movement as like Maoist insurgency. However, the skills and knowledge is learned from the Maoist insurgency by people and leaders. The movement still observed some nature of elasticity which is more prone to convert in to plastic. Once it transfers in to plastic, it would chaos to everyone. People are counting of death of 50 people in Madhes movement but it is loss of 3core Nepali people across Nepal and beyond. It is the situation like bloodless genocide. Therefore, it is already too late to settlement of negotiation or meaningful dialogue.
Each individual is always reflecting the message towards either peace building or conflict while performing a single behaviour. Therefore, each of us should stand and speak for making meaningful dialogue urgently from each corner of the country and beyond because peace everyone’s business. It has already started in various districts of Nepal namely Jumla, Chitwan, Sarlahi, Siraha and it should be enlarging too for bringing the feeling of peace among all of us. Because the birthplace of an individual is not by choice so no one has right to discriminate and each of us has obligate to cultivate the culture of peace as Nepali and human being. Today, the word and practice of Miteri is more relevant and significance. It is all about mutual love and respect beyond marriage and blood regardless of caste, class, region, religion and all. Thus, let’s cultivate the peace in sister and brotherhood across Nepal and Beyond instead of blaming and silence.