Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Displaced number 2000, run out of food; Nepali land 'encroached'


SATBARIYA, Dang, June 3: Some 2000 Nepalis from villages on Nepal-India border who have been displaced due to alleged harassment by Indian border security forces are running out of the meager food stuff they brought with them.

These people from the bordering Rajpur, Koilabas, Bela and Gobardiha villages have been staying in the Kari community forest adjoining the East-West Highway in Dang district.

The number of displaced due to harassment by India´s border security force -- Sashastra Surakshya Bal (SSB) -- is increasing. Even on Tuesday, some 250 came to Satbariya. Many are still on the highway not knowing where to go.

Karma Roka, 28, of Kalyankoti in Rajpur has a supply of just half a kilogram of rice. Karma, who has two daughters, left her village on May 28 after threats from the Indian security personnel. She had 5 kg of rice then.

"I don´t know what will happen once the remaining rice is consumed," Karma told Republica. Her husband has gone to India in search of job.

These villagers have accused SSB of harassing them, especially the women. Reports surface from time to time about SSB´s "high-handedness" and notorious behavior against Nepal citizens. But neither Nepal government nor its Indian counterpart have been able to restrain the SSB.

"The Indian side harassed us because we are Nepalis and the Nepal government never bothered about us," said another displaced Deviram BK. "Either the government should ensure security in our villages or help settle us at a secure place."

Of the 22 transit points on the international border, just Koilabas and Khangi have police posts. Robbers and goons from India often raid these four villages, the displaced allege but rue that there is no protection from the district administration.

Some people get "displaced" from their villages in the hope of getting land from the government, officials of Kari community forest that occupies an area of 47o hectares, said. They also said that some of the "displaced" have started "capturing" community and private forest areas.

Indian encroachment on Nepali territory alleged

Some of the displaced also accuse the India forces of encroaching on Nepali territory, another charge that comes up frequently. While the Nepali government officials maintain a conspicuous silence, the Indian officials deny it.

Nepalis in these bordering villages have accused the SSB of shifting the border demarcation pillars toward Nepali territories.

Spokesperson of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Dinanath Sharma issued a press release in Kathmandu on Tuesday, condemning the "encroachment". The party has termed it an encroachment on Nepal´s sovereignty.

The press release said that India´s SSB has burnt houses, beat people, raped women in villages in Koilabas, Patauli, Siriya, Sukauli, Gurung and Bhaisahi in Dang and Jhitkaiya, Badki, Fubariya, and Basantpur in Bara district.

"Dispute about Susta, Maheshpur, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura has long prevailed," Sharma said. India´s neighboring, small and weak nations have been suffering due to its traditional, feudalistic, bullying and expansionist policy."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs in Kathmandu has instructed the Dang administration to conduct a field study of the displaced and report to it. It has also asked the Department of Survey to look into the complaints of shifting of border pillars.

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