|The eyes of wisdom overlooking the capital of Nepal, Boudhanath stupa, Kathmandu (W)|
|Five Buddhas, Amitabh Monastery, Nepal (Eliz Chastain/flickr via Pinterest Mania)|
|Anti-India demonstrations rock Nepal with demonstrators angry over shortages (AP).|
|Not 2015 but 2016 is the year!|
|Boudhanath temple, Kathmandu, Nepal|
The group's dispute with the government is part of the political dysfunction that has held back development and even prevented the adoption of a constitution for nearly a decade. Now it is threatening lives as hundreds of thousands of people, many of them displaced by Nepal's devastating spring earthquakes, face the winter without fuel, secure housing and many essential goods.
"We are all suffering. Prices of food have gone up and there is shortage of many things here," Parwar said in Kathmandu, the capital. "It is the common people who are suffering. The rich and the leaders are getting the fuel and gas and living comfortably."
A look at Nepal's crisis through the eyes of those close to the dispute, and others who are struggling with its consequences:
|Nepalese women and children line up for food and services after enormous earthquake (AP).|
Members of the Madhesi ethnic group in south and southeast Nepal are blockading the border to protest Nepal's new constitution, which was adopted in September after years of infighting. The group wants a larger Madhesi province and more seats in Parliament than they have been given.
Madhesi protesters have clashed with police, attacked public vehicles and shut down highways. At least 50 protesters, police and bystanders have died in the violence.
Upendra Yadav, a leading Madhesi protest leader, blames the government for ignoring their demands and using excessive force to crush peaceful demonstrations.
"Just last week the government sent their goons to disrupt our mass gathering, burning down the stage and chasing our supporters," Yadav said.
The Madhesis have held talks with government negotiators at least nine times but have not reached any agreement.
"We are very clear with our demands," Yadav said, accusing the government of failing to present a clear agenda.
THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE
The coalition government led by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli took office after the protests began with promises it would resolve the conflict, but two months later, a solution is nowhere in sight.
The government has said it's ready to make changes to the constitution but has said little about protesters' demands for a bigger province. The Himalayan country has more than 100 ethnic groups, and while the Madhesi are among the largest, making up about a fifth of Nepal's 30 million people, there are fears that a deal to end the blockade could set off protests elsewhere.
"We fear that giving more land to the Madhesi province and making changes to the state boundaries could trigger new conflicts in the country," said Pradip Gyawali, secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist). Gyawali said any such changes would require detailed research and agreement among the main political parties.
A TENT FOR WINTER
|Nepal is full of Buddhist temples.|
With no gas available, she must cook with wood, but she's not allowed to burn wood in the apartment. So she's bracing for near-freezing winter temperatures in the drafty tent in the outskirts of Kathmandu with her husband and their 5-month-old daughter.
And the fuel shortage is just part of her family's hardship. Food prices are soaring: A bottle of vegetable oil has tripled in price to 300 rupees ($2.81). And work has become scarce for her husband, a day laborer.
"First we got hit by the earthquake, losing our homes and then this blockade is causing so much difficulty and pain," Lama said. "We are collecting wood from fallen houses and from wherever we can, but how long can we go on like this?"
|Vulture "parahawking" with Himalayas in the background Nepal (BBC.com Travel)|
Nepali Congress, the main opposition and largest party, says it is trying to mediate a solution between the government and the protesters. It blames government apathy for the lack of progress, though it shares the government's concern that overly generous concessions to the Madhesis could drive other ethnic groups to protest.
"The government is not clear on what they are doing to deal with the situation. They have no idea or any plan and come to talks unprepared," said Ram Hari Khatiwada, a Nepali Congress lawmaker. "But if a solution is not found soon this situation could escalate."
Nepali Congress and Oli's ruling party are traditional rivals, and Khatiwada acknowledged that their rivalry "is one of the reasons for the obstacles in the talks with the Madhesi." He said it's time for that to end.
"The prime minister needs to act as leader of a nation and not chief of a party," he said.
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