Condolence to Border Vigilant

Condolence to Border Vigilant

            One Border Vigilant, Govinda Prasad Panday, an inhabitant of Gulariya, Bardiya has been murdered cruelly on 29 June 2008. He was shot by bullets at 11.00 PM in his residence, Gulariya municipality ward number 2, Khairapur, as he was sleeping at night.  He was rushed to Nepalganj hospital. But he died on the way to hospital. Panday had worked in his agricultural farm during day time and he had gone to bed in his room after eating dinner at around 10.00 PM. According to an unofficial source, Tarai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha, Jwala Singh Group was involved in this murder case. Late Panday is survived by his wife, one son and three daughters.

            There is a Police Post, nearly 200 meters far from Panday’s home. But, most surprisingly, the policemen were not able to catch the criminal as they rushed just after the incident. It is not yet identified the persons involved in the murder case.

            Late Panday’s dead body was cremated on 30 June 2008 at Bhada Ghat with a huge funeral procession, consisting of general public, journalists, lawyers, businessmen, local political leaders and Nepal Communist Party (UML) central standing committee member, Bam Dev Gautam.  

            Late Panday could be known as Border Vigilant as a Junge Pillar of Bardiya. He may be named as Border Sentry, Border Watchmen, Border Safe-guard, Border Protector and so many adjectives. Because he was the activist to protect and preserve the border pillars number 63 and 64, which are located at Bardiya district, Gulariya municipality ward number 9 of Chaugurji area. In addition, he was a human rights activist, President of Civic Society Network- Bardiya, former Mayor of Bardiya municipality, President of Border Concern- Bardiya and above all, “A Sentry as Junge Border Pillar number 63″ between Nepal and India.  

            While the Indians encroached nearly seven hectares of Nepalese territory on 21 August 2006 located in between border pillars 63 and 64, he organized a mass rally to protest against the encroachment. He made a signature campaign of 451 citizens on 3 July 2003 and submitted to Chief District Officer, Bardiya on 5 July 2003 asking for the protection of national territory of Nepal, including Bardiya. He initiated and published a White Paper on 23 July 2003 entitled “Let us manifest additional unity against the foreign encroachment upon Nepalese territory.

            Late Panday was so much sensitive as the Indian tumbled down the old Junge Pillars number 110, 115, and 123 of Kailali  district, Bhajani VDC ward- 8. He organized a protest rally and gathering in a similar fashion. He was the man to express sorrow and personal grief, while Biru Bika of Bhajani Kushumghat locality lost his 1.5 hectares of personal land on 24 December 2006 with other 58 Nepali nationals. Their farm land was encroached by the adjacent Indian people. At that time, Biru Bika was weeping and crying “I lost my all 1.5 hectares of land and that was everything for me. Now I have nothing to survive. I have only the paper-made land ownership certificate (Lalpurja), provided by Nepal government. Now, should I survive as a landless Nepali citizen in Nepal with a worthless paper- Lalpurja or I may be converted into Indian national to get back my land and property.” Late Panday had assured Biru Bika and others, He organized a demonstration and visited the government organizations to materialize for the withdrawn of their land from the Indian encroachers.

            Similarly, late Panday was very much aware, while Indians encroached the Pyara Tal area and 6.5 hectares of land owned by Biraphanta Lower Secondary School of Kanchanpur district.

            At the programme organized in Kathmandu on 4 July 2008 by Nationalists’ Democratic Front for paying tribute to late Govinda Prasad Panday, who was killed at Gulariya Municipality of Bardiya district, the political leaders, researchers, lawyers and historian said, people should not shy away from patriotism for the protection of country’s sovereignty and sustainability of democracy.

             CPN (UML) Standing Committee Member, Bamdev Goutam pointed out that there is an apprehension of assassination to those, who are conscious on the security of Nepalese border, due to the murder of Govinda Panday, as he was working as a border vigilant. Gautam  further said that it has terrified the nationalist Nepalese, because a knowledgeable person on Nepal-India border issues has been killed.  He said his party would not accept one-Madhes-one-Province, stating that left power should be united not to let the country be divided.

                                                                         

General Secretary of Left Front, CP Mainali said, one border watchman is slaughtered with an inhumane manner. But there are hundreds of border safe guards in this country to protect the national boundary of Nepal. He mentioned that his party too would not accept one-Madhes-one-province, stating that meeting of constituent assembly should not be disturbed for this reason.

            Netra Bikram Chand of CPN (Maoist) Central Secretariat Member said frequency of the killing of nationalists has been increased and Govinda Panday has become a prey. Late Panday has become immolation for self respect. The State has not been able to show initiative ness to protect the genius and intelligent people. He mentioned that his party is not in favour of One Madhes, One Pradesh. His party would not enter into any agreement that would undermine country’s sovereignty, and indivisibility.

            Border Expert Buddhi Narayan Shrestha said, I know late Govinda Panday as no other than a Border Sentry. He may be a human rights activist or a social worker or a party member. But above all, he was a true nationalist to protect the national boundary of Nepal. He was as the Junge border pillar number 63 of Chaugurji, ward-9 of Gulariya municipality of Bardiya district. Because he had organized so many events, gatherings and programs, especially in Bardiya district. Late Panday was really the for-runner to protest on the illegal encroachment of Nepalese territory by neighbouring India.

                                                                        

            Now border pillar number 63 of Nepal-India border has been tumbled down, as Govinda Panday is fired and killed. But we are here to re-locate and re-install the missing Nepal-India border pillar in the name of late Panday.

            Nepal is constructed with Himal, Pahad and Tarai. ‘NE’ represents Himal as head of a man, ‘PA’ represents Pahad as abdomen and ‘L’ represents Tarai as legs of a man. If the demand of One Madhes, One Pradesh is fulfilled, the Tarai (leg) may be gone one day from Nepali territory. If the Tarai is separated, there may be a possibility of disintegration of Himal (head) as ‘One Himal-One Pradesh.’ And Pahad (abdomen) will be remained as No-man’s Land (Das Gaja) between the new States of Madhes and Himal. So if we protect and preserve the present national boundary of Nepal that will be a real homage and admiration to late Panday.  

            Constitutionalist Bheemarjun Acharya said the country has been pushed towards crisis, and the crisis prevailed after the passage of Citizenship Act, determination of constituencies based on population and declaration of federal state in the name of inclusion. Boundary of Nepal must kept intact for the overall development of nation.

            Historian Dr. Surendra KC said, it is indeed a great sorrow to all the patriotic Nepali nationalists that Govinda Panday has been murdered by the planners to disintegrate Nepal. We should be aware of these unwanted elements. There should not be delaying by the political parties to stand singularly for the protection of national integrity.

            Chairing the Program, President of the Nationalists’ Democratic Front Chetendra Jung Himali emphasized that all political parties and citizens must be wakeful to maintain our nationality. He said, to pay homage to late Govinda Panday is to contribute for the national integrity of Nepal. Late Panday was a worthy son of Nepal. Now he is no more with us. But we have to carry on his spirit and follow his vision to protect Nepal-India border pillars, making synonymous Govinda Prasad Panday to Junge border pillar.

××

Advertisements

Merging Nepal and India as New Nepal

Merging Nepal and India as New Nepal

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

Nepal communist party (Maoist) senior leader, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has expressed his feeling publicly at a programme organized by young industrialists on 11 May 2008 that Nepal-India open border should be regulated, otherwise the two countries should be ‘merged.’ He further said “Nepal’s development is not possible with open border, either it must be managed or let it be merged.” Presenting his logic, he further stressed that either it should be merged or it would mean that Nepal was not an independent nation-state.

In course of his speech, Dr. Bhattarai repeated that the open border with India is one of the hindrances of Nepal’s industrialization.  Put his view to the industrialists, he said- ‘the main reason of Nepalese industries knock down is the open border with India, so the border must be regulated’ (Nepal Samacharpatra Daily, May 11, 2008:1).

During his address to the Nepalese young entrepreneurs, he used the word ‘merge’ three times and he pointed out four times the need to regulate the open border of Nepal with India.

Now there may be inquisitiveness, in what sense Dr. Baburam Bhattarai used the word ‘merge.’ And what is the meaning of ‘merge’ to him in literal and political terms. In the other side of the coin, why he is so interested to transform Nepal’s open border into a regulated one.

Let me take up the second issue first. Truly speaking, it is not exactly clear as to since when and how the people in both the countries began entering each other’s country openly, directly and without any hindrances. However, it can be said that as soon as Nepal restored four districts of Banke, Bardiya, Kailalai and Kanchanpur as “New Territory” from the then British India on 1 November 1860, open border system gradually came into practice between the two countries. In fact, such an open movement across the border cannot be seen as operative after the Sugauli treaty was signed on 4 March 1816. But it can be safely concluded that after the return of the “New Territory” to Nepal, open border system was started to be in practice unknowingly between the two countries.

It seems that the British government started to keep the India-Nepal border open for two particular reasons. First, it wanted to make sure that sturdy Nepali youths might travel to India without any restrictions to get recruited in the Gorkha Regiment of the British Army. Military officers of the East India Company were fully familiar with qualities such as bravery, militancy and obedience of the Gorkha (Nepali) soldiers, and wanted to recruit them for making the force more powerful. Second, the East India Company had its hidden interest of exporting British and Indian commercial goods to Tibet via Nepal without any restrictions, and also importing Nepali timber, forest products, herbal medicines, plants, hides and skins and other raw materials to India.

Presently, open border system is creating some serious problems for both the countries. Criminals commit crime in one frontier and they cross the international border easily. They hide in the other side of the border. On the other hand, India keeps on blaming Nepal that the Urdu teachers teach in Madrasa of the Nepalese frontier. They make plan to create disturbances to India. Nepal has not been sufficiently watchful of their movement. In response, Nepal tried to convince India many times that Nepal is very much alert on this matter and there is no such activity by the teachers of Madrasa. Eventually, India is not yet satisfied. 

Second, many people have blamed open border policy for the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft with flight No. IC-814, which headed to Delhi from Kathmandu on 24 December 1999 from Tribhuvan International Airport. The plane was ultimately force landed at Kandhar of Afganisthan and the passengers on board were detained for a week. After this incident, a control mechanism has been enforced with regard to operating air services between the two countries, considering that the plane was hijacked because of the open border between them. Under the new system, a compulsory provision requiring the passport or identity card has been made for the air passengers.

It is memorable that the hijackers made the passengers as prisoners at Kandhar for complete one week. During that period, almost all Indian media blamed an innocent Nepali passenger on board Gajendra Tamrakar, as one of the hijackers. When the hijackers ultimately freed all the passengers, including Gajendra Tamrakar, they were brought to Delhi. A press meet was organized by the government of India at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Tamrakar presented his clarification and narrated all the matters mentioning that he was no more than a captive passenger into the hijacked airplane. At that time, it was proved that the blame was totally false and baseless. But it is the point to be noted that Indian authority did not speak a single word of excuse that an innocent Nepali passenger was psychologically tortured unnecessarily.

Third, I would like to highlight that no mention has been made free movement or open border in the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty-1950. But it is only mentioned, the movement will be made on the reciprocal basis. Portion of Article 7 says “India and Nepal agree to grant, on reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other, movement and privileges of a similar nature.” In this context, the then Councilor, Sanjaya Verma of Indian Embassy, Kathmandu had said “In the 1950 Treaty, not a single point speaks that there must be an open border system between Nepal and India, but open border should be best construed as a symbol of intimate bond between the two neighbours (Space Times Daily, July 2, 2004 page 6). So what should be understood that there is not a single clause in any of the treaties, agreements, memorandum and understanding reached between Nepal and India that inscribes open border system. It is only an unofficial practice which has kept on going for centuries by both the nations.

Fourth, one high ranking Chinese authority has said- ‘The most important step is to regulate or control the unrestricted international border between Nepal and India to stop the unwanted activities’ (NEPAL Weekly Magazine, July 6, 2008: 29).

Realizing all these factors, Dr. Bhattarai might have come into conclusion that Nepal-India open border should be regulated and well managed to enhance Nepal’s friendship further with India. It should not be blamed each other on the background of open border system. Dr. Bhattarai must have visualized so many problems of open border such as cross-border terrorism, trafficking of narcotic drugs, smuggling of red sandal wood, revenue leakage, transaction of illegal arms and ammunition, women trafficking, kidnapping of individuals, entry of Bhutanese refugees, degeneration of political values etc. So he wanted to regulate the border to make the administration better, when they form their government.

Now let us switch to the first issue, why Dr. Bhattarai made a speech to merge two countries each other in a single country? If we have a look in the Cambridge English Dictionary ‘merge’ means to unite, combine, to lose identify by being absorbed, swallowed up etc.

Dr. Bhattarai might have a benign thought- if the two countries merge with each other into a single one, there would be no hustle bustle in the economic and political fields of Nepal. At the same time, Nepal will not have to face the problems such as shortage of petroleum products, problems of construction materials, black marketing of foodstuff etc.

If Nepal and India merge each other in a single country, neither the issue of ‘One Madhes, One Pradesh (State)’ will be raised, nor regular session of Constitution Assembly would be obstructed by Madhesi activists. Similarly, no slogan to form the other state as ‘One Himal, One Pradesh’ would be voiced as ‘Federal Himali Pradesh’ from Taplejung to Darchula, having 22 districts. On the other hand, there should not have any obstacle to link the Himalayan Rivers such as Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali to the southern rivers such as Krishna and Cauvery, to make success the River Linkage Project of India. Side by side, there will be no problem of inundation and water logging, especially at Rapti river areas of Holiya and Santaliya VDCs. By merging Nepal and India together, the problems of border encroachment, disputes and conflicts at Kalapani-Limpiyadhura, Susta etc will be automatically vanished. Shooting the films like ‘Kalapani’ by the cinema artists will be stopped and cancelled there and then. Most importantly, it would have not to contemplate any more by SD Muni, KV Rajan, Ashok Mehta, Dev Mukharjee and Sitaram Yechuri. They will be free from anxiety.     

In the political field, our political leaders should not have to tolerate the grievances of Indian leaders any more. As an example, we could cite a recent statement of Indian leaders. Communist party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechuri, national congress general secretary DP Tripathi, senior leftist leader D Raja formed a pressure group in New Delhi on June 12. They have done homework to pressurize to make Maoist Chairman Prachanda to be appointed as the prime minister of Nepal. They said, Girija Prasad Koirala must resign from the post of prime minister because he is holding the post against the mandate of people of Nepal (Kantipur Daily, June 13, 2008:3). The group is exerting pressure to their Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, not to support to Koirala in any sphere. What could be understood by these statements that Indian leaders think-  Nepal is a part and parcel of India like Bihar, Bengal and Uttaranchal. In this circumstance, Indian leaders should not have to take any trouble to make this type of statements, if two countries be merged with each other politically.

On the other hand, if we study the historical geography, Indian sub-continent were originated billions of years ago drifting Gondwanaland from the present Australia. Geologists believe that Indian sub-continent is still pushing underneath the Himalaya and Eurasian Tibetan plateau at the rate of two centimeters per year. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar have been geographically located on the Indian sub-continent. During British Raj all these countries were under the British dominion, except Nepal. Now the political fever has created a murmuring sound that India and Nepal should be combined or united to fulfill materialize the notion of Indian leaders. In this regard more than half a century ago Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (India’s well known freedom fighter) had forwarded a letter to the prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru stating “The political and administrative steps which we should take to strengthen our northern and north-eastern frontiers, and this would include the whole of the border i.e. Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and the tribal territory in Assam.” This shows that there should be a single territory from the Himalaya on the north to Cape Comorin (Kanya Kumari) on the south.

In this context, it may be relevant to mention a question put by BBC London, to its listeners in October 2005. The question was- ‘If Nepal is merged to India in respect of language, culture, economic condition, geographical nearness; Nepal could be developed furthermore. What do you think on it?’ It is not disclosed what was the collected answers. But the listeners protested. At the same time, Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement against the question posed by BBC. And Director General of BBC wrote a letter asking to make him excuse.  

In this perspective, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai might have used the word ‘merge’ in association with the open border, to be regulated. This is not a bad idea of Dr. Bhattarai to merge two boundaries into a single one, in the context of global village and borderless continent. But this scribe has a very serious and strong reservation on Dr. Bhattarai’s word ‘merge’ as fantasy that, in fact, Nepal should not be merged into India. However, if I recognize the ideology of Dr. Bhattarai, I must say that India must be merged into Nepal instead to eradicate economic and political troubles and to solve the problems for ever. And certainly, the merged single country, extended from Himalaya to Cape Comorin must be named as ‘Nepal’ but not ‘India’ on the globe.

 

There should not be any unsteadiness on it. This may be regarded as sarcasm to someone. But it can be said that it could materialize the concept of some of our political leaders to frame and design ‘New Nepal.’ The figure of New Nepal visualized by them may be something like that. It is due to the fact that, if we make a question to our leaders- ‘what should be an outline of New Nepal?’ Nobody answers in a solid manner that the concept and contour of our New Nepal is this and this. As a matter of fact, ordinary common folks are eager to know all these things from our national leaders. However, the people expect that generally, there should not be any entanglement in economic and political sectors in New Nepal.

The people of New Nepal must be prosperous economically. There should not be any shortage of job to work and food to eat. Earning of ordinary people, four thousand Rupees a month in old Nepal must be at least seven thousand in New Nepal. Basic materials such as construction materials, food stuff, petroleum and energy products should be sufficiently available. In the same manner, services such as education and health should be provided for all. In short, people of New Nepal should be exempted from shortage of materials. They should be released form scarcity of commodities. In addition they should be far away from self disappoint.

The leaders of old Nepal, entangled always in meddling and quarrel, must go hand with hand in New Nepal to drive the nation smoothly. Leaders of New Nepal will pull on our nation ahead to meet the standard of Singapore. With this, boundary of New Nepal would be extended from Himalaya to Cape Comorin, as thought by some of our leaders. So that the departed soul of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will get eternal peace for ever.        

♣♣

%d bloggers like this: