Kathmandu: Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli has called on India to lift “unofficial blockade” in Nepal as soon as possible.
In his televised address on Sunday to the nation, the premier, who assumed office as the head of the government on 11 October, explicitly mentioned that Nepalis have been going through a hard time due to the blockade imposed by India.
“It is unthinkable that a sovereign nation faces such an inhumane and severe pain, misery and blockade in the 21st century for having a Constitution with progressive, pro-people and democratic contents through an elected Constituent Assembly with people’s overwhelming participation and democratic franchise,” Prime Minister Oli said, Xinhua reported.
The Nepali prime minister’s remark has come at a time when people of Nepal have been reeling under acute shortage of fuel and basic commodities due to an Indian embargo after Nepal adopted a democratic constitution on 20 September.
This was the first time that the Nepali prime minister categorically pointed out the Indian economic blockade in the Himalayan nation though India has been denying any embargo against Nepal.
The Indian government has cited security reasons behind the obstruction of supply of fuel and basic commodities to Nepal due to an ongoing agitation against the new Constitution by Nepal’s Madhesi parties at the India-Nepal border.
“Nepal is passing through a serious humanitarian crisis which should not happen even during the wars. The blockade imposed by our southern neighbour has underestimated the feeling of the Nepali and Indian people. Imposing a blockade to a landlocked nation is a breach of international treaties, norms and values,” the prime minister said.
He said that Nepal wants to have relations with its neighbours on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel.
Stating that the government was making all efforts to address genuine concerns of agitating Madhesi parties, Prime Minister Oli said that the government is ready to review the demarcation of federal sate borders which has been a key demand of the agitating parties.
“The newly promulgated Constitution is not discriminatory to any sections of people including the Madhesi. It has addressed the aspirations of all people. As the Constitution is a dynamic document, it can be amended several times. I would like to urge Madhesi parties to end the ongoing agitation,” the prime minister added.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s talks between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government has failed to reach any conclusion, officials told Xinhua.