Nepal’s ambassador to New Delhi has urged Indian media not to address his fellow citizens from Madhes, the southern plains district of the Himalayan nation, as ‘people of Indian origin’.
Madhesis, as they are called in Nepal, are currently in agitation against Kathmandu because they believe the newly-promulgated constitution is biased against them and does not guarantee them full rights as citizens of the country.
In an exclusive interview with Indian news agency ANI, Deep Kumar Upadhyay said it was wrong to claim his Terai compatriots as people of Indian origin. It is noteworthy that most national and international media outlets do refer to Madhesis as ‘people of Indian origin’.
”It is thought that they are people of Indian origin. It is not like that. If you see it that way, then it is possible that maybe 400-500 years back, we also migrated from India,” ANI quoted him as saying.
The envoy pointed out that although fifty percent of the population in Madhes is from Terai, they are all Nepalese. There should be no attempts to divide them, he said.
”There are traces of Indian population in our demography. It is around half. In Himalayas, it is around 6-7 percent. In mountains, it is around 42-43 percent. Similarly, there are around 50 percent in Madhes. In Madhes, there are a lot of your tribal population. There are your aadivasis, tharu tribal population and Muslims who tell themselves apart,” Mr Upadhyay further said.
At least three major Indian media houses have covered the news with considerable importance.