KATHMANDU, Aug 19: The government has decided to declare 52 individuals who were killed during last year's Madhes protests as martyrs.
A cabinet meeting held on Thursday decided to declare as martyrs 41 protestors and 11 security personnel who lost their lives during the Madhes movement, informed Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Kumar Karki.
Declaration of those killed in the Madhes protests as martyrs was one of the major demands of the agitating Madhes-based parties.
The cabinet took the decision on the basis of a political understanding reached between Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi and leaders of the agitating parties during a meeting on Sunday.
The Madhesi leaders had presented the meeting with a new list of 68 individuals who were killed during the protests and asked Deputy Prime Minster Nidhi to declare them "martyrs of the Madhes movement." An Indian national who was shot dead during the protests in Birgunj was also in the new list of martyrs along with security personnel killed during protests in various parts of the country. The Indian's name is not in the list of 52.
Likewise, it has also come to light that an individual who died in a road mishap and another who was accidentally electrocuted were also included in the new list.
As the list came under widespread criticism, the Home Ministry decided to review it and proposed the name of 52 individuals. This was endorsed by the cabinet on Thursday.
Likewise, the cabinet meeting decided again to provide Rs 1 million each to the families of individuals killed during the Madhes movement last year. A cabinet meeting on August 6 had taken a similar decision.
Asked why the cabinet was taking a similar decision again, Minister Karki, who is also the government spokesperson, said it was just to ensure that all those who were killed during the protests got the compensation as announced by the government.
"The decision was just a matter of principal to ensure that none of the victims' families were left out from the compensation. Let me make it clear those who have already received the compensation amount will not receive it again," he added.
According to the Home Ministry, the families of around four out of a total of 41 individuals are yet to receive compensation because of a dispute as to which family members should take receipt of the cash. "The ministry will provide them the compensation amount soon," said spokesperson of the ministry Yadav Koirala.
With this decision, almost all the demands raised by the UDMF have been fulfilled, except the demand for constitution amendment.
Likewise, the cabinet meeting decided to form a seven-member commission under the chairmanship of former justice Girish Chandra Lal to investigate incidents of vandalism and arson during the Madhes protests and prepare a report. "The Home Ministry will appoint the other members," said Minister Karki.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to bear expenses totalling Rs 9.106 million incurred in the treatment of those injured in the Taliban attack in Afghanistan in June.
Similarly, the cabinet decided to promote joint-secretary at the National Planning Commission Gopinath Mainali to secretary and appoint CPN (Maoist Centre) politburo member Ramdeep Acharya as public relations advisor to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.