What is the Terai Independence Movement in Nepal?
Terai Independence Movement in Nepal- Why in News?
On March 14, 2021 the piece of news broke out that there was a bomb blast in Nepal. Eight people were injured when a pressure cooker bomb exploded in a government office in Siraha district.
Also unprocessed Uranium has been collected that was being smuggled through Nepal and arrests have been made in this regard.
The bomb blast has been claimed by the organization named Janatantrika Tarau Mukti Morcha which is an armed organization led by Jaya Krishna Goit. It claimed that they had conducted the blast as a revolutionary movement or a campaign against corruption.
What is Terai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (TJMM)?
It is a political organization in Nepal also known as Terai People's Liberation Front. The organization was formed in 2004 after splitting from the Commuinist Party of Nepal (Maoist- CPN-M) This group had accused CPN-M of not providing an autonomic status to the Terai region of Nepal.
After a peace agreement was signed in 2006 that put an end to the 10-year civil war between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal Maoist, people saw a new fight erupt in southern Nepal, within it’s Terai region. The violence, however, was initiated by the groups fighting on behalf of those who profess a Madhesi ethnicity.
These groups targeted both the state and the Maoists and also polarized the Terai citizens along various ethnic issues left unaddressed during the civil war.
What is Terai region?
The Terai can also be interchangeably referred to as ‘Madhes’. However, these terms differ in their original usage. The ‘Terai’ refers to the fertile strip of low-lying land sandwiched between the Himalayan foothills and the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plain. It runs from the west to east throughout southern Nepal to India and Bhutan.
About Terai Independence Movement:
The Terai incorporates 20 of Nepal’s 75 districts, includes close to half the population of Nepal’s 26 million citizens, and houses well over half of Nepal’s agriculture and industry sector outputs.
The differentiation of votes on Madhes's Identity did not develop till 1990. The state during this time tried to assimilate the 100 plus ethnicities of Nepal into pan Nepali identity through language, schooling and legalities. These policies codified the cultures of upper case Pahadis, legalizing systematic discrimination and under-representation in the government of any in Nepal who did not have this lineage.
These organizations mentioned above have been asking for the creation of a separate state of Madhes for those living in Terai.This demand is known in common parlance as ‘One Madhes’ in Nepal. The people have claimed to have received step brotherly treatment from the hilly regions of Nepal. The major loans received by the country are also said to have been distributed majorly in the hilly regions of Nepal. They also claim that they have not received proper rights constitutionally.
The groups have thus asked to either create the separate Terai region or gain autonomy in the Terai/ Madhesi state.
Kathmandu needs to sell a compromise other than One Madhes to the supporters successfully in order to end this decade-long rebellion.
Moves must be taken to include the Madhesis into the Nepali army and other activities in development.
The foreign service, civil service, and police services are also under-represented by Madhesis which must be overcome by including them in huge numbers.
Terai people's issues must be addressed by the Government of Nepal in every possible way. The issues range from storms to international border issues to financial deficits in the area. Political parties, criminal organizations and official forces all engage in heavy-handed tactics that breed insecurity among Terai citizens, encouraging them to support armed groups in the absence of state capacity. All this can be stopped and controlled by proper Government intervention.