ICG-Brussels bloats Madhesi numbers

Sujit Mainali / April 7, 2016



The report titled “Nepal’s divisive new constitution: An existential crisis” released on April 4, 2016 by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) has claimed that Madhesi and Tharu communities combined make up more than a third of the population of Nepal.

“The parties representing the protesting Madhesi and smaller indigenous Tharu communities of the plains, who together are over a third of Nepal’s population…,” the report has said.

South Asia Check has fact-checked the statement.

According to the latest census report prepared by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Madhesi (19.3 percent) and Tharu (6.6 percent) communities combined make up 25.9 percent of the total population.

The ICG report has mentioned that Tharus make up 7 percent of the population, which is almost correct.

Members of the Muslim community in the Tarai are also involved in the “Madhes Uprising”. Muslims are settled also in the Hills of Nepal, but majority of the Muslim population resides in the Tarai.

Even if the nation’s total Muslim population (4.4 percent) is added to the total population of communities involved in the “Madhes Uprising”, then it adds up to just 30.3 percent of the total population of Nepal which is still less than a third of the total population.

The ICG report has defined the term Madhesi as an “umbrella term for a population of caste-based Hindus residing in the Tarai region, who speak plains languages such as Maithali and Bhojpuri, and have extensive economic, social and family ties across the border in northern India.”

This definition has explicitly excluded the Muslim community.

Therefore, the ICG report has clearly exaggerated the size of the Madhesi community.

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