Nepal in grip of anti-India frenzy

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Nepal’s ruling Communist party and the Maoists Thursday joined forces to condemn the growing “encroachment” of the republic’s border areas by India and “atrocities” by India’s border security forces while student organisations said it would launch street protests.

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“Nearly 6,000 people have been displaced from Dang district,” former deputy prime minister and home minister Bam Dev Gautam of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) told journalists after 18 parties met Thursday to discuss reports in the local media of widespread displacement in more than 20 villages in the district since the past two days.

“Indian security forces have been coming over to Nepali land with arms, assaulting villagers and raping women,” the former minister said.

Calling it a serious attack on Nepal’s sovereignty, the 18 parties said in a joint statement that they were forming a committee to monitor the situation in the border areas and suggest measures to alleviate the distress of the displaced villagers.

Gautam said encroachment by India has also been reported in Bara district in southern Nepal.

The Indian embassy in Kathmandu said it has received no intimation from the Nepal government on this issue.

On Wednesday, the Maoists, who blame India for the fall of their nine-month government, raised the issue in parliament, accusing the new government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal of being a `puppet’ that had failed to protect its own people.

With the growing allegations, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu is under mounting fire.

On Wednesday, five small parties demonstrated in front of the Indian embassy at Lainchaur. More protests before it are in the offing with 12 student organisations affiliated to 12 political parties Thursday announcing a protest movement.

The student groups said they will submit a memorandum to the prime minister as well as to the Indian ambassador to Nepal, Rakesh Sood.

In the farwest, a group of people have started a campaign `Mato Bachao Abhiyan’ – Save our soil.

Led by a writer, Hembabu Lekhak, the group is campaigning in Kalapani, the disputed 372 sq km area at the junction of India, Nepal and China that Nepal says has been taken over by Indian security forces.

Nepal’s home ministry said it has asked the chief district officer of Dang to submit a report on the alleged atrocities by India’s Seema Suraksha Bal, a border force, and the ensuing exodus of panic-stricken villagers.