Friday, December 7, 2007

Susta encroachment by India contiues: India mum, Nepal angry

Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan called the Indian ambassdaor Shiv Shanker Mukheerjee and asked the planned high-way along east-west of Nepal border. The shameless Indian ambassador, who is more active in distributing money in the Terai in the name of social work and the spokesman of Indian criminal gangs operating in Kathmandu and Terai, shamelessly denied the report of highway. But he continued to distribute the money to the criminals in Terai to create law and order problem for Nepal.
Pradhan also raised the issue of Indian government's policy in land encroachment of various parts of Nepal especially Susta of Nawalparasi in recent days today with the Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukheerjee. But as usual expansionisty Indian authority and its foreign minister Pranab Mukheerjee requested her to keep this issue in a status quo. But why? Because its not right time that India can pressure Nepal. But ultimately India will pressure Nepal when the situation will be more fluid and India can dictate.
Otherwise if India is a friend of Nepal, why can't it stop its SSB-backed land encroachment that has already encroached a huge section of land from almost 10 years and back its SSB. But India will not do that because India is expansionist and now wants Nepal's land and water resources.
In the recent development, India wants to capture Nepal's water resourses through its private companies like GMR who are trying to enter Nepal through back door by buying Nepali hydro companies shares like India entered Nepal through back door by using Himalaya Times and now it threw its Nepali partner and operating one english and one Nepali broadsheet dailies which never prints the news of Susta and always prints the press release of Indian embassy.
Some of the examples of how long has India encroached Nepali and other South Indian neighbour's land.

Indian Expansionism: Harmful for Peace in South Asia
Hari Bansha Dulal (10/9/2005)

The encroachment of Nepalese land in Susta VDC, Nawalparasi clearly demonstrates how India is trying to take advantage of current political mess in Nepal by encroaching Nepalese territory. While Indian embassy's staffers in Kathmandu keep themselves busy trying to paint India's friendly attitude by providing funds to build bridges and inaugurating school buildings in terai, their government in New Delhi makes Nepalese pay for the financial aid provided to Nepal by ripping off their national identity.
However, what could be the better time than this to encroach a smaller state's territory? Political parties are wrestling with King to grab the power and king is flexing his muscle to maintain status quo. New Delhi does understand that neither political parties that are busy protesting in the street nor King residing in the Narayanhiti trying to garner India's support can afford to displease India by voicing their concern over Susta.
As both the warring parties are trying their best to remain in good books of India, poor in Susta are forcibly getting converted into Indian citizens without much opposition from the government and political parties that are meant to fight for the citizens right. Citizens of Susta are the recent victims of bullish and oppressive policies of the Indian expansionists.
Nepal is not only the nation that is having a border dispute with India. India has an ongoing border dispute with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Although, the areas in contention with China and Pakistan are among the largest existing land boundary disputes in the world.
The Indo-Bangladeshi contention over New Moore/South Talpatty Island and Indo-Nepali dispute over Kalapani and Susta involve comparatively small area. But the point here is not how big or small the area of dispute is. It's about the India's attitude towards it neighbors in the region. With three-quarters of the landmass, population and economy of the region, India has developed a bullish and hegemonic attitude towards its neighbor.
Even after having fought wars with China and a recent war (Kargil) over Kashmir with Pakistan, India has not acknowledged the importance of peaceful coexistence. In addition to the already existing issues such as Kalapani which has been forcibly occupied by the Indian army; the Laxmanpur Barrage that has resulted in the flooding of Nepalese villages; the Mahakali treaty that is unfairly loaded in favor of India, the recent Susta encroachment exhibits India's increasing lust over foreign territories.
What New Delhi should understand is, national boundaries are symptomatic of wider bilateral relations and manifestations of national identity. They can be trip-wires of war. The seething anger of the people of China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal against the Indian expansionism may burst into the open any time in near future.
The people of these countries in order to ascertain their self respect and nationalism can burst open and harm Indian interests and establishments in their respective countries and the region as they did during the Hritik Roshan Fiasco in Nepal.The anti-Indian feeling in Nepal is at the highest level and the Nepalese citizens are bitter to the core. India should realize that relationship built on genuine equality and mutual respect, is the only guarantee for peace and development in South Asia.

(Hari Bansha Dulal is a doctoral student of Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University, Virginia, USA)

Nepal's sovereignty is in danger
Who wants their land being encroached by neighbors? Then why aren’t we raising our voice for the national territories, which has been encroached by our big neighbor India in more than 60 places and more than 600 sq km.? We all have just encountered the news of Kapilvastu where the dehumanization being promoted by the infiltrate vigilantes across the border, whereas such event being already reviewed in Gaur massacre and Terai riots, it can happen in another places anytime.
Due to lack of secure border concept, our national territories have been constantly encroached physically and psychologically by neighbor, so this appeal goes to all the responsible citizens and especially youth to be conscious about our Border. We must pressurize our government to regulate and manage indo-Nepal border. In addition to this message, a very important thought provoking documentary has been made, called “GREATER NEPAL-in quest of boundary”. As the name suggest this documentary has highlighted the border issue from the history to the current unmanaged border.
The first part of the documentary reveals the boundary during the unification process as we have read in the poem “Paschim Killa Kanagda PurbaMa Tista Pugethyiu, kun Satruko Samuma Kahile Hami Jhukethyiu”. The filmmaker has visually traveled from Tista in the east to Kanagda in the west (now in India) whereas also visually presented the Nalapani (where Balbhadra Kunwar fought) and Malaun(where Bhakti Thapa died).
The part finally review the Sugauli treaty of 1815 AD with East India Company due to which Nepal lost more than 1/3 territories to the British government. The second part of the documentary shows how our neighbor India is encroaching our territories and on this context how are we responsible too? The filmmaker has traveled from Pashupatinagar in the east to Kalapani in the west and on the course; the issue of Mechi river and Susta encroachment has also been presented.
The documentary reflects the clear message “Lets not forget our history and lets save our current Nepal whose sovereignty is in danger”. Due to lack of nationalism in us our nation has reached to such critical stage, if we the sensible youth won’t be responsible enough to motivate people to think seriously about national interest then sorry to say we can’t give sovereign, peaceful, beautiful and developed Nepal to our coming generation.
-Manoj Pandit is a film-maker of The Greater Nepal and a responsible youth for this Nation.

India, While Seeking UN Security Council Status, Takes Nepali Land
By Princess Shrestha, Kathmandu

Exactly one and a half months ago Indian Border Special Force (Sima Sasastra Bal) (SSB) began chasing Nepali families from Triveni Susta Village saying the territory lies under the jurisdiction of the Indian State of Bihar. About 1000 Indian farmers, who had entered Susta with the help of Indian forces, destroyed about 10 hectares of sugarcane planted by Nepali farmers and also manhandled men and women. This clearly shows India's interest to displace about 350 Nepali people from their homeland.
Nepali farmers didn't keep quiet this time. They formed a Committee for a "Save Susta Campaign" coordinated by Gopal Prasad Gurung. They took their appeal to Kathmandu, asking the government to intervene immediately and start fixing the border. The team met with the Home Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi and requested him to begin border demarcation talks with the Indian government. The villagers also requested the Home Minister to deploy security forces in Susta for the safety and security of Nepalis living there. Surprisingly, the minister did nothing, only saying that the forces were focused on fighting against Maoist rebels. The Royal government, which is more concerned with convincing the international community including India about its current position, is still quiet while Nepali farmers face harassment by Indian farmers and SSB personnel.
However, human rights defenders, researchers, border specialists and historians couldn't keep quiet. They visited Susta village to inspect the problems last week. The situation they describe is horrific, created by the "big brother" of South Asia. Nurjaha Begum broke down when the team led by Chetandra Jung Himali of the Civic Committee for Border Concerns listened to what Susta dwellers have been going through. Nurjaha told the team: "Indians beat Nepali men; and women are beaten up too, particularly they hit on sensitive parts of women. Indian forces accuse us that we have relations with the King and Maoists; they harass us stating that we smuggle tiger skin, which is not true."
The seven-member inspection team found the Indians to have encroached further into about 200 hectares of Nepali land. Indian farmers were found building houses in those areas, and about 1000 SSB were stationed there. "Now the total Nepali land that India has grabbed in Susta alone has reached about 14,000 hectares," says Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, a noted border specialist and historian in Nepal. India has encroached onto Nepali land in Susta on several occasions in the past.
Nepal-India border dispute not limited to Susta
The Narayani River flows from north to south, from Tribenighat to Sustait, forming a 24 kilometer border between Nepal and India. No physical demarcation was made on either side of the river though "boundary delimitation and delineation" was done after Nepal and India signed the Sugauli Treaty in 1816. This has created room for border disputes.
The International "Fixed Boundary Principle" and "Fluid Boundary Principle" are in practice for border demarcation. In Nepal-India's case, the 9th meeting of the Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee of the two countries in the first week of January 1988 had agreed to demarcate the riverine sector on the basis of the Fixed Boundary Principle. According to this principle, says the border specialist, Shrestha, "the borderline should be fixed along the course followed by the Narayani River in 1816 no matter whether or not the river flows along that area today." India does not accept this principle in Susta, while it has created disputes in the Mechi River area in eastern Nepal by erecting new border posts inside Nepali territory as per the Fixed Boundary Principle. The two cases of Mechi River area and Narayani River area are exactly the same in nature but India has imposed two different principles for them.
To stop encroachment, a police post was established in Susta. The government also built a health post and school in order to maintain Nepal's territorial integrity but time and again stories of confrontation between Nepali and Indian farmers have been coming to light. Also the locals narrate cases of Indian farmers trying to get Nepali citizenship by means of fraud and forgery in order to own those areas. However, Susta is not the only case, as Nepal shares over 1800 kilometers of border with India and border disputes exist in at least 85 different places. Boundary posts at dozens of points have disappeared; the 10-yard wide strip of no man's land between the two countries is getting blurred day by day and in addition 372 square kilometers of the Nepali territory of Kalipani at the tri-junction of Nepal, India and China has been occupied by Indian troops since the 1960s.
A map was drawn with the help of the Canadian government in 1985 and in 1992, another map was drawn with the assistance of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In both cases, the maps show the whole Susta area in Nepal's territory.
The actual scientific demarcation of the Nepal-India boundary had started during the topographical survey of the whole of Nepal carried out by the Survey of India in 1926-27. But India has delayed making all the topographical maps available. For instance, it has not made available 17 sheets of which 12 sheets pertain to the Nepal-India border of the Kalapani area, and 5 sheets pertaining to the Nepal-China border. Several attempts have been made at the national level to resolve the Susta issue but nothing has happened due to a negative Indian attitude. Indian bureaucrats always suspect a ploy being hatched by Beijing or Islamabad when Nepal brings any agenda for discussion. Early this month the Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Team met in order to resolve border disputes, but like many previous meetings, it ended inconclusively.
What does Nepali Civil Society say?
Nepal is a sovereign country and the government should take immediate action against Indian encroachment. "In fact the issue should be internationalized as India, claiming itself a representative of South Asia, is seeking a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council," says Gopal Siwakoti Chintan, a human rights defender. He questioned, "Would India's hegemonic nature towards smaller countries in the region qualify it to achieve the permanent seat in Security Council? The government should raise this question while dealing with India, which needs smaller countries' vote in UN elections."
Other members of Nepali civil society say that only a political commitment in both countries may resolve the border problems. However, what is happening in Susta tells a different political scenario. Bihar State of India, which shares the border with Nepal in the South, is holding elections of its State Assembly in January next year; and Indian politicians are influencing voters by distributing disputed Susta land to Indian farmers. It may also be mentioned that Sima Sasastra Bal (SSB) told Nepali families that they would be provided a land ownership certificate from India if they said that the territory belonged to India.
"1000 Indian farmers have entered in Susta, it is not only encroachment in our land, but also an encroachment in our nationality," said Ram Chandra Chataut, an activist. Adds the border specialist, Shrestha, "Historical documents should be collected in order to begin border demarcation immediately. If we remain quiet, those Nepalis living in frontier would become foreigners in future."
The Civic Committee for Border Concerns is launching programs under the Save Susta Campaign both in Nepal and India. Border specialist, Shrestha, historian Dr Surendra KC, human rights defender, Chintan and others are seeking an audience with King Gyanendra to request him to intervene immediately for resolving the Susta border dispute, and ending harassment faced by Nepali farmers. They will also submit a memorandum to the Indian government through its embassy in Kathmandu. They will meet with the Chief of the Army Staff of the Royal Nepalese Army to ensure security for Nepali people living along border areas. The Committee will make a documentary on the reality of Susta and organize interactions in New Delhi in order to inform concerned Indian citizens.
"India is using its media to misinform even Indian citizens. Recently, Indian TV spread a false story about my book, which was published seven years ago and tells the reality of Nepal-India border issues. Thus, we should not keep quiet," says Fanindra Nepal, a researcher.

Indian Encroachment Threatening Nepal's Sovereignty
By Reagan Shrestha

According to official records, Nepal covers a total area of 147,181 Sq km. But in reality, the territory of Nepal is gradually shrinking thanks to increasing encroachment by India that has put the sovereignty of Nepal at stake.
The reports prepared by Buddhi Narayan Shrestha renowned border expert after thorough survey make it evident that India has encroached about 59,970 hectares of Nepali territory at 54 points in 21 districts adjoining India in the east, west and South. But if the areas affected by the unilateral activities of our southern neighbor such as construction of dams and irrigation projects are considered as encroachment, which according to researcher Phanindra Nepal, we should, the number increases to 85 points.
Among the encroached areas, the much disputed Kalapani-Limpiyadhura area with 372 sq km (37,800 hectares) is the largest chunk of Nepali territory encroached by India. The encroachment started right after the India-China border war of November 1962. After facing defeat, the Indian army set up a camp inside Nepal's territory of Kalapani to keep an eye on Chinese activities. But now, they claim the area belongs to India.
The Treaty of Sugauli (1816) has clearly mentioned that the River Mahakali is the borderline of Nepal-India. The crux of the issue in dispute is the determination of the origin of the river Mahakali. "The maps of 1850 and 1856 prepared by the Survey of India with the participation of Nepalese authority clearly states that the river originates from Limpiyadhura, 16 km northwest of Kalapani, which proves that Kalapani belongs to Nepal," says Shrestha.
But the Indian side refuses to accept those maps as proof. They say that the map prepared by them in 1875 should be considered as proof as it was scientifically prepared. But what is remarkable is that the map does not have Nepal's certification. According to the map, the river Mahakali's origin is Lepulek.
In recent times, the Tribeni-Susta situated on the east of Narayani River in the mid-southern part of Nawalparasi district is the most tense area owing to encroachment.
Just a few weeks ago, some Indians invaded Nepali territory in Susta and burnt down all the sugarcane.
About two months ago, over 1000 Indian villagers backed by Indian Border Police Force (Seema Sashastra Bal) SSB had forcibly entered Nepalese territory in Susta. They completely destroyed the sugarcane in about 10 hectares of land and also manhandled men and women.
According to locals of Susta, such incidents are rampant in the area. Sometimes, they send Bihari miscreants to chase away Nepalis from their homes while sometime the Indian police cross the border and manhandle Nepalis on the pretext that they are searching for Munna Khan, an Indian gangster, who was once used by the Indian side to create disorder in Susta, says Shrestha.
Nepali farmers initiated the "Save Susta Campaign" to safeguard Nepalese territory but how long can they stop the Indian side is the question. They say they appealed to Nepalese authorities several times to take necessary action but the authorities are turning a deaf ear to them.
Experts say the changing course of the Narayani River is the main reason behind the dispute. Over the decades, the Narayani River has been changing its course toward the Nepalese side in the west, and the Indians have been trying to capture Nepalese territory. India has so far grabbed about 13,500 hectares of Nepalese land because of this.
The other most talked about point of dispute is Mechi. India's disapproval of Masonry Pillars popularly known as Junge Pillars as the main boundary pillars had sparked the Mechi Border dispute.
The map published in January 1818, right after the Sugauli Treaty, shows the Junge Pillars as the main boundary pillars. More importantly, history is evidence that British had erected those pillars as monuments of the Nepal-India border.
But the Nepal-India Joint Technical Border Committee adopted the Persian Map (Urdu script) of 1874 as the reference material, which was provided by the Indian side.
Because of the Nepali side's wrong decision accepting the Persian Map as the basis of demarcation, a total area of 1630 hectares of land has fallen on the Indian side.
Why does India encroach Nepal's land?Experts are of the view there could be multiple reasons why India eyes Nepali land.
If Phanindra Nepal is to be believed, India wants Kalapani area primarily to keep an eye on the Chinese, Pyaratal for its biological diversity, and a large part of terai land for agriculture," says Nepal. He also says it cannot be ruled out that a power and water hungry India is eyeing Nepal's rivers.
Shrestha also believes that the main reason for encroachment is that India wants to meet the demand for settlement and agriculture for its ever growing population.
What needs to be done to stop encroachment and solve dispute?According to Shrestha the issue can no longer be solved though bilateral meetings as India is not paying heed to Nepal's point of view. "The issue must be taken to the United Nations as India is not responding to Nepal's call for bilateral meeting," says Shrestha.
But Phanindra Nepal is of the view that lack of sincerity and patriotism are the main drawbacks of the Nepali side while negotiating with their Indian counterparts. He also says collective effort is needed to face the Indian side strongly. "Because of the news carried by the media, government deployed security personnel in Susta area on 28 October," he adds that media should carry border dispute news more frequently.
Besides, civic society must also pressurize the government to take necessary steps soon, he adds.
But we are virtually doing nothing to stop the encroachment and to resolve the existing dispute. Researchers like Shrestha and Nepal say there are so many such points where not even one security personnel has been deployed to guard our territory and citizens.
Altogether, 27 Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee meetings have been held in the last 25 years but they have not yielded any result yet.
Nepaleyes tried to get comments from concerned government officials on the outcomes of those meeting and what the Nepali bureaucracy was planning to do to resolve the dispute, but none them could be reached despite repeated attempts.

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