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Nepal’s Prime Minister urges India to lift economic blockade

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 October 11, explicitly mentioned that Nepali people have been undergoing through a hard time due to 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 a 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 Nepali people have been reeling under acute shortage of fuel and basic commodities due to an Indian embargo after the Nepal adopted democratic constitution on September 20.

This was the first time Nepali prime minister categorically pointed out Indian economic blockade in the Himalayan nation, though the Indian has been denying any embargo against Nepal.

The Indian government has cited security reasons behind the obstruction of fuel and basic commodities supply to Nepal due to 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 neighbor 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 neighbors 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 remarked that the government is ready to review the demarcation of federal state 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.

(IANS)

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