In 1994, the world proved that it had not learned anything from the holocaust. When almost a million Tutsis were killed by Hutus in the Rwandan genocide, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and the diplomatic offices of many developed countries were there. The United Nations and the West ignored the warnings and did nothing to stop the genocide from occurring.
Politicians and organizations often say it was their “biggest mistake” and that it would “never happen again.” The same thing is already happening again in Darfur and yet no concerted action is taking place. Likewise, in Nepal, Madheshi ethnics appear to be the target of ethnic cleansing.
Surprisingly, just as in Rwanda, the United Nations, human rights organizations, other NGOs and the diplomatic missions from many countries are present in Nepal, but they appear to be ignoring the situation and are silent.
In the recent Nepalgunj incident, Pahadi ruling-class people from the hills destroyed shops and houses owned by Madheshis, who are native people of the southern plains region. The Pahadis looted shops and houses and set them on fire, and a number of ethnic Madheshis were killed.
This incident was not the first time the Pahadis attacked the black-skinned Madheshis. In the Hritik Roshan scandal of 2000, Madheshis were searched and attacked in Kathmandu valleys and other parts of the country by Pahadi ruling-class people. It was said that the Pahadi chose who to attack by the colour of their skin. The police also took and burned citizenship papers and female Madheshi students were raped. Some Newari people, who are also black-skinned, were beaten up after being mistaken for Madheshis.
A few reports of the incident have been seen, but Nepalgunj is not an isolated incident. Similar incidents occurred throughout Nepal, on different days, in Inaruwa (reported by Nepali Post), Biratnagar (reported by Hamro Samachar), Lahan (reported by Kantipur) and several other places as well. Pahadi have been attacking and looting Madheshis, burning their houses and killing them.
In an attempt to calm the situation, a curfew has been imposed in many parts of Madhesh.
Most of the deaths were reported to be due to police shooting. After the death toll in the plains rose to seven, Hridayesh Tripathi, the commerce, industry and supplies minister, resigned from the government.
Many politicians in Nepal have weighed in on the Madheshi people’s quest for recognition and better treatment. Most condemned the violence, blaming it on “external forces” or “royalists” and calling for tough measures against the protesters. This quotation came from Maoist Chairman Prachanda, Pushpa Kamal Dahal – “Negotiation is done with political forces, not with criminals and gangsters.” A surprising response from the man whose negotiation skills include the killing of 13,000 people.
Rather than calming the situation, the politicians seem to prefer inflaming it and pointing accusing fingers anywhere but at themselves.
This story includes information received from the Alliance for Rights and Independence of Madhesh