NEW DELHI: Leaders of Nepal’s Indian-origin Madhesi community, whose protest against the country’s new Constitution has crippled supplies from India, today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who called for a "speedy" political solution to the crisis.
The leaders who arrived here to hold talks with top Indian leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, apprised Swaraj of their position on various contentious issues.
Swaraj, on her part, said India supports an "inclusive Nepal".
"EAM @SushmaSwaraj called for broad based ownership of Constitution & encouraged speedy political solution and return to normalcy on that basis," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup later tweeted.
The agitation by Madhesi leaders in Terai region bordering India has crippled services in Nepal as the protesters have blocked all border trade points between the two countries, triggering shortage of supplies including fuel and medicines.
The Madhesi community is opposed to splitting the country into seven provinces under the new Constitution and has been demanding adequate protection of their rights.
Three major demands of the Madhesi community include re-demarcation of the boundary, inclusion of proportionate representation and allocation of Parliament seats on the basis of population.
The senior leaders of Joint Madhesi Morcha who have come here for talks include Mahantha Thakur, president of Terai Madhes Democratic Party, Upendra Yadav, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum-Nepal, Rajendra Mahato, president of Sadbhawana Party, and Mahendra Yadav, president of Terai Madhes Sadbhawana Party.
On Saturday, these leaders had a crucial meeting with Nepal’s major political parties including main opposition Nepali Congress and ruling alliance members CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist to discuss ways to resolve the ongoing crisis.
During the meeting, they had presented their 11-point demand to the major political parties, who in turn proposed their three-point agenda to address the current political stalemate.
The three-point solution proposed by the major parties in Nepal included forwarding the Constitution amendment Bill in Parliament, to form an all party political committee to resolve the issue relating to re-demarcation of the provincial boundary and asking the Madhesi parties to withdraw their agitation at the Nepal-India border points that has severely hit supply of essential goods.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa today said transport and supply management would be smoother as the obstacles seen at the Nepal-India border and "undeclared blockade" imposed by India would end soon.
Nepal has been accusing India of imposing the blockade. India has firmly denied having any role in the blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned about their safety after violent protests against the new Constitution in which over 40 people have been killed.
India has been insisting that the problem in Nepal was political in nature which has to be resolved by the Nepalese leadership through dialogue.