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A Group Of People In Nepal Are Expressing Their Plight Using The Hashtag #MadhesSpeaks

As protests continue in the country for nearly three months, schools have been closed, and blockade has led to a shortage of fuel and medicine.

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In September, Nepal passed a new constitution that had been years in the making. But a large group of people living in the southern plains of Nepal, locally known as Madhes, which is bordered by India, had been protesting against the constitution long before it was even adopted. Those living in Madhes consider the constitution discriminatory, and say it ignores the marginalized groups in the country. So, they have been asking the government to make a set of amendments in the document.

Their unhappiness that began with a set of demands since has morphed into anger, then agitation, followed by protests which have brought Nepal's southern region to a standstill for nearly three months now. Since August, at least 45 people have been killed, including children who were shot by security forces, and police officers, who were hacked to death by a violent mob.

Soon after Nepal announced its new constitution, India said that it was experiencing problems sending supplies into Nepal, citing security threats due to protests near the border areas.

Diptendu Dutta / AFP / Getty Images

Indian trucks have been stuck at the border, unable to enter Nepal for months now.

Nepalis say that India has deliberately imposed a blockade, which has continued for the last two months, making them suffer from shortage of daily necessities, including fuel and medicine. Meanwhile, protests have led to closing of schools in many areas of southern Nepal.

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Over the weekend, Code For Nepal co-founder Ravi Kumar started a campaign to bring forth the plight of the people of Madhes, who are known as Madhesi.

I started #MadheshSpeaks to enable Nepalis in plains express their views. It's self-directed & decentralized. https://t.co/SLGihbAu2q

Ravi, who is based in the United States, came up with the idea during his visit to his hometown of Janakpur, in hopes that spreading messages from ordinary Nepalis will bring their issues to the forefront, and make others more empathetic towards their genuine concerns.

"I believe #MadhesSpeaks is helping people across the political spectrum engage in a constructive & empathic conversation, which Nepal really needs," he told BuzzFeed India.

Ravi teamed up with online platform Madhesi Youth to gather people from the town of Janakpur at a popular local temple, where hundreds of people wrote their messages on white paper.

With #MadhesSpeaks, Nepalis suffering from the consequences of the ongoing crisis, are sending out written messages.

Students in my hometown & nearby regions in Nepal haven't been able to attend school cuz of crisis for 90 days.

Messages of concern, solidarity, and protest are pouring in.

the least I can do for now.A pahade born & raised in madhseh speaks. #netagomadhesh #MadheshSpeaks @Raghav_Pokharel

Today Nepalis voiced their thoughts on #Madhes and their place in #Nepal #MadhesSpeaks @madhesiyouth

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Organizers told BuzzFeed that the two questions they asked people were "What do you want in Nepal?" and "What needs to be done to resolve this crisis?"

Another youth from Janakpur just want the country united with an end to discrimination. #MadhesSpeaks @madhesiyouth

Some of the messages are absolutely heartbreaking.

This makes me sad, kid says "Don't kill my brothers and fathers; I wanna go to school" #MadhesSpeaks

This 80-year-old man's paper reads, "Don't kill my children. Give me rights."

#MadhesSpeaks Md. Ansari(80years old) says this:

Madheshi youth remains at the forefront of the campaign. You can participate by hashtagging your messages with #MadhesSpeaks or #MadheshSpeaks.

Today Nepalis voiced their thoughts on #Madhes and their place in #Nepal #MadhesSpeaks @madhesiyouth

Despite the protests, Nepal's government has insisted that the constitution does not marginalize any of its people. In a nationally televised address on Sunday, Nepal's prime minister said that the newly promulgated constitution is not discriminatory to any Nepalis, including the Madhesi.

"It has addressed the aspirations of all people," he said. "As the Constitution is a dynamic document, it can be amended several times. I would like to urge Madhesi parties to end the ongoing agitation."

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