Unresolved Border Problem

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सीमा समस्या का“चै

बुद्धिनारायण श्रेष्ठ

पच्चीस वर्षछि नेपाल-भारत प्राविधिकस्तरीय संयुक्त सीमा समितिको म्याद १ जनवरी २००८ मा समाप्त भयोे । आठपटक थप गरिएको संयुक्त समितिलाई यसपटक थपिएन । जानकार संयन्त्रअनुसार यो समिति विघटन गरिएको छ । नया“दिल्लीमा पुस ३-४ मा बसेको संयुुक्त समितिको अन्तिम तथा ३१ औं बैठकपछि अतिक्रमित सुस्ता र कालापानी-लिम्पियाधुराबाहेक सीमाका सबै भागको १ सय ८२ आधिकारिक र वैज्ञानिक नक्सा तयार भई दुवै देशका नापी अधिकारीले हस्ताक्षर गरेको प्रकाशमा आएको छ । यस्तै दुवै देशबीच सीमारेखाको ९८ प्रतिशत रेखांकन समाप्त भएको पनि भनिएको छ ।यसले तीन जिज्ञासा जन्माएको छ । प्रथमतः, सुस्ता र कालापानीजस्ता जटिल अतिक्रमित ‘सेगमेन्ट’को समस्या किन का“चै रह्यो – दोस्रो, तयार भएका सीमानक्सा कुन हदसम्म यथार्थ र तथ्यपरक छन् – के यी नक्सामा जमिनको वर्तमान वस्तुस्थिति सीमारेखा चित्रांकन गरिएका छन् – यस्ता रेखांकन सुगौली सन्धिताकाका जंगे खम्बासहित वास्तविक नक्सांकनस“ग मिल्दाजुल्दा छन् – तेस्रो, बा“की २ प्रतिशत काम कुन-कुन ‘सेक्टर’को छ – सुस्ता र कालापानीमात्रै या अन्य भूभागको पनि बा“की भएको हो – सुस्ता, नेपाल-भारतको निकै पुरानो ऐतिहासिक मुद्दा हो । सुस्ता क्षेत्रमा नेपाल र भारतका २४ किलोमिटर सीमारेखा प्रतिनिधित्व गर्ने नारायणी नदीले संवत् १९०२ देखि बाढीका समयमा धार परिवर्तन गर्दै आएको छ । वादविवाद सुल्टाउन संयुक्त सीमा कमिसन गठन भई विसं १९९४, २००४, २००९ तथा २०१० मा बैठक बस्यो । उपाय निक्लिन सकेन । पुनः २०२७ सालमा परराष्ट्र मन्त्रालयका अधिकृत टोलीले क्षेत्रगत निरीक्षण गरी भैंसालोटनमा भारतीय पक्षस“ग कुराकानी गरे । कुरो मिलेन । तर पनि विवादित सुस्ता क्षेत्रको वस्तुस्थिति आ“कलन गर्न नेपालतर्फाट २०२८ मा एकतर्फी नापीनक्सा सुरु गरियो । नापी गरिएको नक्सा भारततर्फाट लुटी र्सर्भेयरलाई केही दिन काबुमा लिई छाडियो । यसपछि २०३८ सालमा गठित नेपाल-भारत प्राविधिकस्तरीय संयुक्त सीमा समितिलाई सुस्ता क्षेत्रसमेत दर्ुइ देशबीच सीमारेखाको वैज्ञानिक सिमांकन गर्न तोकियो । यो समितिले २५ वर्षकाम गर्‍यो । यसैबीच समितिको म्याद २०६४ पुस १६ गते समाप्त भयो । समिति विघटन गरियो । सुस्ता समस्या का“चै रह्यो । नया“दिल्लीमा भएको अन्तिम बैठकमा आ-आफ्नै अडानका कारण सहमति हुन सकेन । “सुस्तामा नेपाली भूभाग अतिक्रमण भन्ने भनाइलाई भारतले ठाडै अस्वीकार गरेको छ । नेपालकातर्फाट माइन्युटमा सुस्तामा भूमि मिचिएको भन्ने वाक्यांश राख्न जोड दिए पनि भारतले अस्वीकार गरेको थियो” -कान्तिपुर, ०६४ पुस ६) । अब १ सय ४२ वर्ग किलोमिटर भूभागको सुस्ता समस्या अनिर्ण्र्ााो बन्दी भएको छ । अन्तिम बैठकमा कालापानी-लिम्पियाधुरा अतिक्रमित क्षेत्रबारे छलफलै भएन । स्मरणीय छ, यस क्षेत्र भारत र चीनबीच भएको संवत् २०१९ मा छोटो तर डरलाग्दो सीमायुद्ध दौरान अतिक्रमित भएको हो । अहिलेसम्म पनि भारतीय अर्धसैनिक बल यस क्षेत्रमा छन् । ३ सय ७२ वर्ग किलोमिटर ओगटेको यो भूभाग नेपाल, भारत र चीनको त्रिदेशीय विन्दुमा अवस्थित छ । सामरिक दृष्टिकोणले यो स्थान समवेदनशील तथा महत्त्वपर्ूण्ा छ । भारत-चीन व्यापारिक, पर्यटन तथा तर्ीथाटनको छोटो ‘रूट’मा परेको छ । बैठकमा यस क्षेत्रको चर्चा नभए पनि “कालापानी नेपाल, भारत र चीनबीचको त्रिपक्षीय मुद्दा भएकाले त्रिपक्षीय बैठकले टुंगो लगाउने” भनिएको समाचार आयो । यसैले कालापानी-लिम्पियाधुरा समस्या पनि ज्यु“का-त्यु“ छ । दोस्रो बु“दातर्फपसौं । तयार भई दुवै पक्षका नापी अधिकारीबीच प्रारम्भिक हस्ताक्षर भएको ‘स्ट्रीप म्याप’ कुन हदसम्म यथार्थ र शुद्ध छ – १ बराबर १५ हजारको माननापमा तयार पारिएका १ सय ८२ थान नक्सामा सीमारेखाको वस्तुस्थिति चित्रांकन गरिएको छ-छैन – सुगौली सन्धि दौरान गाडिएका ९१३ वटा जंगे खम्बा लामो दूरीमा गाडिएको थियो । तिनीबीच घुमाउरो र चोसाचासी परेको सीमारेखामा हाल गाडिएका करिब ८ हजार सहायक सीमा खम्बा सुगौली सन्धिका सीमारेखा दर्शाउने गरी स्थापना गरिएका छन्-छैनन् – यस्तै संवत् १८७२ देखि १९१७ तथा १९३१ देखि १९४२ सम्मका विभिन्न चरणमा बनाइएका सीमा नक्सास“ग मेल खानेगरी दसगजा क्षेत्र कायम गरिएको छ-छैन – स्मरणीय छ, नेपाल-भारत सीमा ब्रिटिसकालीन भारतकै समयमा ‘डिमार्केटेड’ सीमारेखा हो । यसैअनुसार हाल सिमांकन गरिएको हुनर्ुपर्छ । प्राविधिक समितिलाई नया“ सिमांकन गर्ने कार्याधिकार नदिइएको हुनाले निश्चित सीमा सिद्धान्तअनुसार दुवै देशबीच साविकको अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय सिमाना कायम गरिएको हुनर्ुपर्छ । प्रश्न के छ भने ब्रिटिसकालीन सिमांकित रेखास“ग हालको भोगचलनको वस्तुस्थिति मेल खानेगरी नक्सा बनाइएको छ-छैन – अर्को पूरक जिज्ञासा पनि उठ्न सक्छ- नया“ नक्सामा ब्रिटिसकालीन सीमारेखाअनुसार चित्रांकन गरिएको भए पनि जमिनमा कुनै पक्षबाट मिचिएको र अतिक्रमित भए यस्ता नक्साको के कस्तो महत्त्व हुन्छ – किनकि नक्सामा मात्रै यथार्थ रहेर जमिनचाहि“ मिचिरहेकै अवस्था भए स्थानीय तहमा वादविवाद रहिरहन सक्छ । जमिन अतिक्रमित भएको सरोकारवाला व्यक्तिका निम्ति नक्सा एउटा कागजको खोष्टाका रूपमा मात्र रहन्छ । यसलाई जमिनमा वादविवाद नटुंगिएको मान्नर्ुपर्छ । यसलाई कसरी ठेगान लगाइएको छ महत्त्वपर्ूण्ा छ । यसै प्रसंगमा ब्रिटिस-भारत समयमा पा“चथर जिल्लाको उत्तरतर्फर कञ्चनपुरको ब्रह्मदेवमण्डी उत्तरको सेक्टरमा खम्बा गाडी सिमांकन गरिएको थिएन भन्ने स्मरण गर्नुपर्छ । ब्रह्मदेव उत्तर महाकाली नदी खो“च परी बगेकोले यसैलाई सीमारेखा मानी अंकन गरिएको हुनर्ुपर्छ । यद्यपि लिपुलेक भञ्ज्याङ र लिम्पियाधुराबाट बग्दै आएको नदी संगमदेखि उत्तरको भूभाग महाकाली नदीको उद्गम विवादका कारणले कालापानी-लिम्पियाधुरा सिमांकन नभएको प्रकाशित भइसकेको छ । फालेलुङ उत्तर सिंगालिला शृङखला भई झिन्सा“ -नेपाल-भारत-चीनको त्रिदेशीय) विन्दुसम्म भूभागबारे मूल पानीढलो यकिन गरी अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय ‘वाटरसेड’ सीमा सिद्धान्तअनुरूप खम्बा गाडिएको हुनर्ुपर्छ । तेस्रो जिज्ञासातर्फलागौं । नेपाल-भारत सिमांकन २ प्रतिशतमात्र बा“की छ । यो दर्ुइ प्रतिशतभित्र कालापानी-लिम्पियाधुरा र सुस्ता क्षेत्रमात्रै पर्छ अथवा अन्य विवादित र अतिक्रमित भूभाग पनि – अन्य क्षेत्र पर्छ भने कुन-कुन हुन् – यिनै जिज्ञासा मेटाउन र नक्साको यथार्थबारे अन्तरिम संसदलाई जानकारी गर्राई नक्सालाई निश्चिततामा पुर्‍याउनर्ुपर्छ । नक्साको सिमांकन विवरण विधायक, अध्येता, अनुसन्धानकर्ता र जमिन मिचानमा परेका सरोकारवालाले हर्ेन पाउनुपर्ने व्यवस्था आवश्यक छ । नक्सामा जानी-नजानी फरक परी त्रुटि भए दुवै देशका नापी अधिकारीबाट सुधार गर्ने सम्भावना रहनर्ुपर्छ । यस्ता नक्सामा दुवै देशका र्सवाधिकार सम्पन्न -प्लेनी पोटेन्सिएरी) अधिकारीले हस्ताक्षर गरेपछि सुधारका गुञ्जाइस रह“दैन । सुस्ता समस्या सडकदेखि सदन हु“दै सरकारसम्म पुगिसकेको छ । कालापानी-लिम्पियाधुरा ओझेलमा परेको छ । पुस ९ गते मन्त्रिपरिषदले नेपाल र भारतबीच सुस्ता, कालापानी, खर्ुदलोटन बा“ध र लक्ष्मणपुर बा“धमा देखिएका समस्या समाधान गर्ने जिम्मेवारी प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई दिएको छ । सुस्ता लगायतका सीमा समस्या समाधान गर्न उच्चतहको कूटनीतिक प्रयास थालेको र केही दिनमै परिणाम आउने अपेक्षा गरेको प्रधानमन्त्रीले अवगत गराउनुभयो -कान्तिपुर, ०६४ पुस २३) । प्रधानमन्त्रीले प्रतिक्रियामा भन्नुभएको छ- “सडकमा हल्ला गरेर सीमा विवाद समाधान नहुने, जब दर्ुइ राष्ट्रबीच सीमाबारे कुरा उठ्छ, त्यसपछि अत्यन्त संयमित भएर शान्त कूटनीतिबाट समस्या समाधान गर्नुपर्छ । हल्ला गरेर समस्या समाधान हु“दैन, भइरहेको कुरा पनि बिगार्छ । सीमा समस्या समाधान गर्न पहल भइरहेको छ । कुरा बिगार्ने गरी केही काम नगर्न म सबैलाई आग्रह गर्छर्ुु-अन्नपर्ूण्ा पोष्ट, ०६४ पुस २५) भने । यसबाट सरकार प्रमुखको इच्छाशक्ति केही ढलपल भएको आभास हुन्छ । र्सार्वभौमसत्ता सम्पन्न देशको सानो टुक्रा भूभाग मिचियो भने त्यस क्षेत्रको नेपाली नागरिक विदेशी वासिन्दा हुन पुग्छन् । सीमा समस्या तथा अतिक्रमणजस्ता राष्ट्रिय मुद्दालाई गम्भीरतापर्ूवक हेरिनर्ुपर्छ । सरकार प्रमुखले चासो दिए पक्कै समाधान निक्लन सक्छ । किनकि नेपाल र भारतबीच परम्परागत जनस्तरदेखि आपसी सम्बन्ध छ । राष्ट्रको जटिल सीमा समस्या का“चै नरहोस् । यथासक्य चँ“डो समाधान भई नेपाल र भारतको सम्बन्ध अझ प्रगाढ र सुदृढ होस् भन्ने कामना गरौं ।

Posted on: 2008-01-17 12:39:46

We could regain Greater Nepal

budhanilkanth.jpgBuddhi Narayan Shrestha

‘We could regain Greater Nepal’

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, a former director general of the Department of Survey, is probably the most distinguished survey research scholar of Nepal’s international boundaries. He has been working in the field of surveying and mapping for the last 41 years. Shrestha has authored several books on the Nepal-India border demarcation and management. He was trained and educated in surveying and land-use mapping in India, Canada, Germany and Japan.

Shrestha, who was awarded the coveted Madan Prize 2057 for his book Boundary of Nepal, spoke to Kamal Raj Sigdel of The Kathmandu Post on the current Indo-Nepal border dispute. He says India has encroached on almost 60,000 hectares of Nepali territory over the last 72 years. Excerpts:

Q: You have been a vocal critic of Indian encroachment on Nepali territory for a long time. What actually is the Nepal-India border dispute?

Shrestha: There are a number of reasons that trigger rows over the border – no clear demarcation pillars, lack of historical documents, unclear points/articles in the border treaties, frontiers based on changeable river courses, one country considering itself superior to the other and the like. Nepal has been having arguments over the border with India for a long time. On March 4, 1816, Nepal and the East India Company signed the Treaty of Sugauli. That was expected to resolve the border disputes, but it did not. For instance, right after the signing of the treaty, the East India Company claimed Antu Danda of Ilam and handed it over to Sikkim. However, Nepal managed to get it back in 1838. The border problems remained after India became independent in 1947. In fact, they intensified as India’s population increased rapidly and Indian settlers began clearing Nepal’s forests in the tarai and settling down there. And now in 2007, when loktantra has been established in Nepal, the disputes still exist.

Q: Mainly, which parts of Nepal have been encroached on?

Shrestha: There is a 1,808-kilometer-long border between Nepal and India, and 26 districts of Nepal adjoin Indian territory. In my estimation, there are 54 places in 21 districts involving 60,000 hectares of land where we have border disputes, conflicts, encroachment claims and counterclaims ranging from the smallest one of 2 hectares in Sandakpur to the largest one of 37,000 hectares in Kalapani. Some of the others are Susta (14,000 hectares), Mechi (1,600 hectares) and Parasan (450 hectares).

Q: Does the government recognize the fact that there are 54 border disputes that you just mentioned?

Shrestha: A meeting of the 31st Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee held in Delhi is supposed to have completed 98 percent of the task of strip-mapping the border. So, according to the government, all the disputes, except Susta and Kalapani, have been resolved. But making maps is not everything. The maps may be correct, but when we trace the border in the field, we find instances of encroachment. What is the use of the maps if the Nepalis cannot use their land?  

Q: How was Kalapani encroached upon? And what is the dispute about?

Shrestha: In 1962, there was a fierce war between India and China which India lost. After the fighting stopped, the Chinese Army retreated to its original border. The Indian Army looked around and found Kalapani to be a strategically advantageous point. There is a 20,276-foot-high hill which they thought could be useful as a stronghold from where to fend off the Chinese Army. At a meeting of the technical committee, Nepal had proposed to resolve the Kalapani dispute using the maps of 1850 and 1856 as the basis. But India wanted to use the map of 1879. Since the Indian map was irrelevant to Nepal, it rejected the proposal. What is interesting is that Kalapani is shown to be on Nepali territory on the maps submitted by Nepal and on Indian territory on Indian maps. In the map taken as the base document by Nepal, the Kalee River is shown as the frontier. The facts have been distorted on Indian maps, and the river has been renamed as the Kuti Yangti River. As India has changed the name of the river, the dispute remains unresolved.

Q: What is the Susta border dispute about?

Shrestha: In the Susta area, India has encroached on about 14,000 hectares of land over a period of 72 years. The intrusion happened in stages, the latest being on November 22, 2007.

Q: What do you think are the reasons behind the arguments over the border with India?

Shrestha: The main reason is that 595 kilometers of the 1,808-kilometer-long Nepal-India border is defined by rivers—such as the Mechi in the east, Mahakali in the west, and the Narayani in the Susta area, which demarcates a 24-kilometer stretch of the international frontier. The rivers keep changing course and that gives rise to arguments. 

Q: Are there any special reasons behind the encroachment in Susta? What do the Indians have to say?

Shrestha: There are five major reasons behind the Susta border dispute – natural, technical, social, political and governmental. The natural reason is flooding. The Narayani River changed its course after the floods of 1845, 1954, 1980 and 1989, and the Indians argued that the reclaimed land was theirs. Another natural cause is that Susta is surrounded on three sides—north, south and east—by Indian territory, and on the west you have the Narayani River. So, Susta is cut off from Nepal which makes it easier for the Indians to move in and occupy it.  The technical reason is that no Junge pillar has been erected along the 24-km riverian border, perhaps because the river was considered to be a natural boundary at that time. The social reason is that the population gradually increased on the Indian side adjoining Susta, and the Indian Special Services Bureau helped them to encroach on Nepali territory. Besides, when the Gandak Barrage at Bhaisalotan was completed, nearly 250 laborers that came to work on the construction project did not return but settled in the Susta area. They outnumbered the Nepalis and they encroached on more land. The political cause is that the BJP in Bihar encouraged local Biharis to intrude into Nepali territory under the condition that they vote for the party in return. They also have the backing of the Indian government as is proven by the fact that the SSB has been supporting the locals in their landgrab. The SSB has been torturing Nepalis frequently. But the presence of the Government of Nepal has not been felt.

Q: Are the government’s efforts to resolve the disputes adequate? 

Shrestha: Nepal has not acted as it should have. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had released a statement saying that, except for Kalapani and Susta, all the border issues had been resolved. But there are other places where encroachment has happened. Of late, however, the government is gradually becoming more aware. Parliament is also taking this issue seriously. Parliamentarian Kunta Sharma returned from a visit to the Susta area and claimed that Nepali lands had been occupied. The parliamentary foreign relations committee is also keeping a close watch. Various MPs have been raising the subject in Parliament. Even the Prime Minister has expressed his commitment to look into it seriously. So the matter has now reached the highest level. I think that if the PM were to pursue it seriously, it can be resolved. The problem is that our leaders fear raising the border issue with India because they think that it will make their chairs shake. Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan talked to her Indian counterpart Pranav Mukherjee on December 7. Mukherjee said that the status quo should be maintained. But what does that mean? That is not the solution. Now that the issue has reached the Foreign Minster’s level, it should be taken to the PM’s level too. The PM should look into it because the border is a serious national issue. If one square kilometer of our land is lost, the Nepali nationals living on it will be turned into aliens. Those responsible for losing Nepali territory should be punished for being traitors. Our head of state should not be afraid of talking to his Indian counterpart for the integrity of our national boundary. He should work fearlessly.

Q: Some border experts speak of a Greater Nepal that includes the territory Nepal gave up with the Sugauli Treaty. Is it possible?

Shrestha: There is a concept of “Greater Nepal” which extends from Tista in the east to Kangra in the west. If Nepal were to become prosperous and powerful like China, Nepal’s future generations could get back the lost territory, which is one-third of the area of Greater Nepal. As China got back Hong Kong from the British, so can Nepal get back its lost territory that was lost with the Sugauli Treaty. Such historical facts should be passed on to our future generations. What is important is that we should not forget our history and the historical facts. The land we lost to the East India Company should not belong to India. It is ours. The 1950 Treaty, too, says that “the Treaty cancels all previous treaties, agreements and engagements entered into on behalf of India between the British Government and the Government of Nepal”. This means that Nepal should regain its lost territory because the 1950 Treaty has nullified the Sugauli Treaty. But the reality is that the 1950 Treaty has not been implemented fully.

Posted on: 2008-01-06 22:23:47 (Server Time) The Kathmandu Post Daily 

Politicians fear of raising Border Issue

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Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

Politicians fear of raising border issue would annoy India

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha is a border researcher. He is former Director General of the Department of Surveys and after his retirement he opened a mapping company, named Bhumichitra Mapping Company. He is the managing director of the company. He was awarded the Madan Puraskar in 2007 for his book ‘Border of Nepal’, and his pursuit of studies on Nepal’s border continues. He talked to BN Dahal of the People’s Review when the issue of Indian encroachment of Nepalese territory at different places of the Nepal-India border has again become a hot issue. Excerpts:

Q. You are an expert on border and border issues. There has been a hue and cry over the shrinking of Nepalese border. What do you feel?

A. It is not that Nepal’s border has shrunk it has been encroached. The country’s borders have again fallen into dispute. More than how much Nepalese land has been encroached, first we should talk about Nepal’s two neighbouring countries. On the north there is China. In 1960, there was a border agreement between Neal and China and the border treaty followed the next year. That time there were disputes at 32 border points. China had even claimed the peak of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest). But when Nepal furnished proofs based on maps that Sagarmatha belongs to Nepal, China conceded. That dispute was resolved at the Prime Minister’s level. The diplomatic agreement between Nepal and China has been renewed three times and the fourth renewal will follow soon. But when we talk about Nepal’s border with India, 27 Nepalese districts share border with India. Out of those 27, India has encroached Nepalese land at 54 points in those 21 districts. The largest portion of them is the Limpiyadhura where 376 sq kilometre area of Kalapani in Darchula district has been encroached by India and the smallest part is the 40 square metre at Phatak of Pashupatinagar in Ilam district. Altogether, India has encroached 60,000 hectares of Nepalese territory. They are 37,000 hectare of Kalapani, 14,000 hectares in Susta and 1,000 hectares in other areas.

Q. After the border agreement between Nepal and China in 1960 all disputes were solved in two years, but why the border disputes with India has not yet been resolved? Has India encroached upon Nepalese land or the other way round?

A. Nepalese had also stepped upon the no-man’s land at several places. But the Joint Border Team could persuade them and they were returned from the overstepped territory. But the Indian never tried to remove the Indians who have encroached into Nepalese territory.

Q. There have been several rounds of border talks between Nepal and India. Is it because Nepal has failed to furnish sufficient proof that the border disputes have remained unresolved?

A. Only last week, Nepalese representatives of the Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee, led by the Director General of the Survey Department went to New Delhi for negotiation. There was news that representatives of both the sides also prepared 193 maps and signed them. They will be authorized after the foreign ministers of both the countries sign on it. But there was no verification of the maps of Kalapani and Susta and the dispute remained unresolved. The reason that the dispute of Kalapani and Susta were unresolved because Nepal does not have sufficient proof of these areas and Indians do not agree to whatever proofs we present before them. In the same way, Nepal does not agree to the maps produced by the Indians. What should be remembered that the map of 1956 presented by Nepal shows the origin of Kali River as Limpiyadhura. This map shows the 17 km territory from the Kali River to Limpiyadhura belongs to Nepal. But the much older map of 1879 presented by shows a small stream flowing by the side of Kali Temple as the origin of the mighty Kali River. Nepal cannot agree on this. So, the dispute has continued because the two sides have not agreed to a common map as the basis. In Susta also, India has not agreed to the map presented by Nepal and vice versa. But Nepal has not yet presented the map prepared by Nepal in 1993-1994 with cooperation of JICA before the India. It is not known why.

Q. The dispute of Kalapani and Susta is growing and the Indians have intensified their encroachment. But the Nepal Government is has remained quiet, why?

A. The dispute is more serious in Kalapani and Susta. The Indian army or paramilitary forces have occupied Kalapani since 1962. After India lost to China in the border war of 1962, Indian troops came stayed at the Nepalese territory in Kalapani so prevent the Chinese from crossing over to India through the Lipulek Pass. Kalapani is a hillock and from that point Indians can see any troop movement on the Chinese side and could attack from a higher position if they try to attack. That is why the Indians captured the strategic Nepalese point and it has been capturing the point ever since. In this, border experts or the government, the prime minister, minister, leaders of political parties and those who call themselves as representatives of the people have remained quiet because they fear India might get angry if they raise the issue of border. Those would lose their chairs if India gets angry. But for a sovereign country, border is a very sensitive issue because if India encroaches even a small part of Nepal, the Nepalese living in the area becomes Indians. Therefore, the Nepalese government and people’s representatives should have talked with India seriously and sternly, but they have failed. Recently, Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan, at the SAARC ministerial level meeting, put the issue of border dispute before Indian foreign minister and the latter has assured of doing investigation on this. This proves Indians would response if Nepalese leaders collect the courage and put the issue before the Indians. But our leaders fear and hesitate to even raise the issue during meetings and talks. However, the Nepalese people have become aware and they are raising voices that if the border is encroached the country would its sovereignty. Even the people of Susta are speaking out.

Q. You as a border expert, a professional, but you are raising voices more strongly than the political leaders?

A. I worked for a long time at the Department of Survey and I gathered some experience when I was in that department. Then after, I thought why not carry out study on the same subject and I started studying about border and border issues. The more I studied the more I found that India had encroached Nepalese land. When I was studying in London, in the library of the British Museum I found a map that showed Nepal’s western border was up to Limpiyadhura. The same map showed encroachment in different other places. Then I started disclosing my findings. Similarly, I reached to the Library of Congress, the world’s biggest library, twice and the maps I studied there also showed encroachment of Nepalese land at different places. There is a place called Sundarpur between Ilam and Panchthar districts in east Nepal. That place gives the most beautiful scenery of Mt. Kanchanjungha. Even that place was nibbled by India. I thought if this trend continues, the existence of Nepall might fall into danger and I started making my findings public. This is an issue of nationalism. I firmly believe that no Nepalese territory should be contracted.

Q. Now, Terai is called Madhesh. Is Terai and Madhesh are the same?

A. In my study Terai is not Madhesh. Geographically, Nepal’s topography has Terai, Chure-Bhabhar, mid-hills, mountains and the Himalayas. Generally speaking Nepal is made up of Himal, mountains and Terai. Even the government has not said that Nepal has any geographical area called Madhesh. In my studies I have found that the original people of Nepalese terai are the Tharus. Later, there was emigration into Nepalese terai from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar of India for employment and livelihood and their number started growing and they became prevalent in the Terai. The influx of Indian grows whenever there are political changes and disturbances and the original people of the Terai fell into minority. With the rise in the influx, those people virtually wiped out the four-mile wide forest of the Terai to make room for agriculture and cultivation. These Indians who came to Nepal are called Madhesi because they came from the middle country and the areas occupied by the new arrivals began to be called as Madhesh. Nepalese Terai has never been called as Madhesh.

Q. Then geographically where does Terai lie?

A. It lies south of the Chure-Bhabar and north of the Indian border. It is about 28 km wide and stretches 885 km from east to west.       ♣ ♣ ♣

Interview : People’s Review Weekly, 27 December 2007

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