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A day after a prominent civil society leader, Krishna Pahari, came down heavily on Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi for being an alleged collaborator of secessionist forces, the police arrested C K Raut who has been advocating an independent Madhes carved out of Nepal, on Thursday.
Interestingly, Raut was arrested from Nidhi ‘s home town, Janakpur; and then moved to Lahan , approximately 70 km away from where he had last called for Nepal’s division and full ‘liberation ‘ of Madhes — Nepal ‘s plain with about 18 per cent of the country’s geography and over 50 per cent of the population.
Raut, who does not belong to any existing political party in the country, has been leading a clandestine alliance for Madhes and lobbying for international support.
If officials in Nepal are to be believed, during his visit to New Delhi last month, he reportedly met some ruling party leaders in Delhi, including a prominent Minister at the Centre. Back home, he lobbied with the international community meeting a European Union representative, which led to the concerned diplomat being chastised by the government.
EU funded NGOs and some individual activists are seen as core members of the pro-Raut alliance who have been in constant touch with UN Field officers seeking their support to his cause.
Raut has been arrested and released on court’s order earlier as well, on charges of treason, and for fomenting communal hatred.
A Ph.D Scholar from MIT, he subsequently worked as a scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies, Massachusetts. Back home six years ago, he plunged into politics, calling himself a leader in the mould of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr but his books and political literature spit venom on his rivals and what he calls ‘colonisers’ of Madhes.
Raut has been remanded to judicial custody for 10 days and there are indications that the case against him is likely to be pursued more vigorously this time.