Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations affiliated with the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) announced on Tuesday that they will conduct a series of mass movements for their identity. They announced it by organizing a joint press conference in Kathmandu.
Speaking at the conference, they announced that they would organize a series of provincial-level identity mass movements. In the first phase, a joint mass gathering of Magarat and Tharuhat will be held in Dang on December 9, 2023. Similarly, Nepal Tamang Ghedung and Newa Dey Daboo will organize jointly in Kathmandu.
Addressing the press meeting, the chairperson of Kirat Yakthung Chumlung, Prem Yakten, said that the identity movement will be extended to all provinces, like the one in Province No. 1.
"The identity movement will be extended to all provinces, like the one in Province No. 1," said Prem Yakten, the chairperson of Kirat Yakthung Chumlung.
The press meeting was organized on the eve of the main opposition party's CPN-UML-affiliated youth union and Durga Prasai-backed ‘Nation, Nationality, Religion, Culture, and Civil Defense campaign, slated to organize mass gatherings on November 23. The officials of NEFIN also made it clear that the Indigenous Peoples Organizations affiliated with NEFIN will not participate in the campaign that is against the democratic system.
“At present, the problems of over 12 million Indigenous Peoples and their issues of identity, including the issues of oppressed, neglected castes and classes, race, and gender, are not being properly addressed. In such a situation, the state should have institutionalized the achievements so far achieved and advanced inclusiveness and diversity. The campaign has further led the country to the danger of going into ethnic conflict, disrupting social harmony, in the name of establishing a Hindu state that promotes the feudal system and the King, who is the symbol of the feudal system and promotes the caste system,” reads the press statement.
Against the Lapsiphedi (Bojheni) incident
Indigenous Peoples representatives also stood against the government’s recent move to use excessive use of force, suppression, and arrests by police administration on Tamang Indigenous Peoples and other local communities in Lapsiphedi (Bojheni) village ward no. 3 in Sankharapur Municipality for the construction of the Upper Tamakoshi substation. In a joint statement, they also called on the government to immediately stop the inhumane acts like the arrests being made in the name of constructing a substation and find a proper solution through peaceful dialogue and discussion.
“If there is an immediate agreement, there will be a way out,” said Dr. Ganesh Yonjon, the coordinator of the Tamsaling Joint Struggle Committee.
Speaking at the press conference, the coordinator of the Tamsaling Joint Struggle Committee, Dr. Ganesh Yonjon, said that the movement of Tamang Indigenous Peoples and other local communities would end if the government initiated the process of fulfilling their rights to free, prior, and informed consent as provisioned under international law.
“For this, we have already talked to the Managing Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority, Kulman Ghising, and the officials of the municipality who have agreed to facilitate the dialogue,” said Dr. Yonjan. “If there is an immediate agreement, there will be a way out.”
According to him, instead of solving the problem, it has been further heightened because of the unnecessary and exaggerated incitements against Indigenous Peoples and other local communities. It is an act of not ensuring the rights of Indigenous Peoples.