Nepalese minister resigns after leading land grab

Other News Materials 19 September 2008 13:45 (UTC +04:00)

Land Reforms Minister Matrika Yadav resigned Friday amid a growing dispute over a land grab by former Maoist rebels that he led and that threatens the future of Nepal's Maoist-led government, reported dpa.

Yadav, who is a Maoist central committee member and an ethnic Madhesi from southern Nepal, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

It followed the Maoist central committee's orders for Yadav to publicly apologize for the use Tuesday of armed Maoists to reclaim disputed land that was guarded by police in the Siraha district, about 300 kilometres south-east of Kathmandu.

After overseeing the capture of the land, Yadav ordered landless squatters to rebuild huts, which had been demolished by police a day earlier, and settle there permanently.

In his resignation letter, Yadav maintained he had done no wrong and would not apologize.

Yadav also accused Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam, representing the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninists (CPN-UML), of being "anti-people" and of trying to interfere in his ministry's jurisdiction.

Nepalese media reports said the land at the centre of the dispute is private property.

The issue had sparked tensions among the main coalition partners and threatened the future of the government.

This is the second time Yadav has resigned from the government.

Last year, he resigned from Girija Prasad Koirala's administration, accusing the then-prime minister of preventing him, as forestry minister, from carrying out his work to control deforestation and the illegal smuggling of timber.