Indigenous People Strike to Kick Off the New Year in Nepal
Posted by n3wday on January 4, 2010
This article was published on Nepal News.
Nepal bandh ends after 4 pm
Nepal stepped into New Year 2010 not with a celebratory bang but with a nationwide general strike (bandh) jointly called by various organisations representing indigenous and ethnic communities on Friday, demanding implementation of Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The bandh, which affected normal life throughout the country from early morning, ended at 4 pm. Responding to the bandh, marketplaces, private offices, industries and educational institutions across the country remained largely closed. Retail stores and other shops in the interior parts of the capital city were partially open.
A day after thousand of revelers partied all through the night to welcome new year 2010 in party venues across the capital including tourist hub Thamel, Kathmandu streets appeared deserted with very few vehicles plying on the road. Few private vehicles and taxis are seen plying on the streets of Kathmandu. Long distance buses from Kathmandu have not operated. Many people are seen walking on the road to reach their destination.
Bandh organisers had staged a torch rally in Ratnapark, Kathmandu, Thursday evening demanding the implementation of their demands. Issuing a press release on the eve of the bandh Thursday the bandh organisers said, they would allow essential services including dispensary, and movement of vehicles of media, human rights organisations, Red Cross and diplomatic agencies. They have also said they will not obstruct disposal of garbage during the bandh.
The conglomerate, Indigenous Nationalities Broad Front, has been organizing various protest programmes from the past one-month demanding, among others, that the government ensure the rights of ethnic/indigenous communities, called the ‘Janjatis’, in the new constitution, give them linguistic and cultural rights including right to self-determination and has called for the establishment of a federal autonomous state.
ILO 169 guarantees special rights on natural resources including land and water of people of indigenous people and preservation of their culture.
Meanwhile, the home ministry has urged the bandh organisers to withdraw their bandh as it would affect life of normal people. nepalnews.com