Dignity of national dress

                                                      राष्ट्रिय पोसाकको गरिमा

                                                                                                       बुद्धिनारायण श्रेष्ठ

नेपाल सरकारले २०६७ भदौ ७ गते सार्वजनिक सूचना प्रकाशित गरी नेपालीको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक दौरासुरुवाल, कोट र चोलो-सारी हो भनी घोषणा गरेपछि यसबारे बहस चलेको छ । यसैबीच देशमा एक सयभन्दा बढी जातजाति भएको र हरेकको आफ्नै सांस्कृतिक पहिरन भएकाले दौरासुरुवाल सबैको पोसाक हुन नसक्ने भन्दै अधिवक्ता सुनिलरञ्जन सिंहले नेपाल सरकारको निर्णय विभेदपूर्ण भयो भनी सर्वोच्चमा रिट दायर गरे । सर्वोच्चका तीन सदस्यीय बेन्चमा बहुमतले नेपाल सरकारको सूचनाका पक्षमा निर्णय दिएपछि यसका नकारात्मक पक्षतर्फ चर्चा अझ अगाडि बढ्न पुग्यो । नाम चलेका चार मैदानी नेताले संयुक्त हस्ताक्षर गरी राष्ट्रिय पोसाक भनिएको दौरासुरुवाल सार्वजनिक रूपमा जलाउन पार्टी कार्यकर्तालाई निर्देशन दिएपछि नेपालको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक कुनलाई मान्ने भन्ने कुरामा जलाइएको दौरासुरुवालको आगो अरूतिर पनि सल्कयो । यो आगोको फिलिंगो व्यवस्थापिका संसद्को बैठकमा पनि पुग्यो । मैदानी मागका लोकतान्त्रिक मधेसी मोर्चा र अन्य साना दलका सभासदले राष्ट्रिय पोसाकबारे सर्वोच्च अदालतले गरेको फैसलाप्रति आपत्ति जनाउँदै संसद्को बैठक अवरोध गरे । मोर्चाका कार्यकर्ताहरूले सडकमा विरोध प्रदर्शन पनि गरे ।                                                                                                                                                   
यसैबीच सर्वोच्च अदालतले दौरासुरुवालका सम्बन्धमा भएको आदेशबारे सञ्चारमाध्यममा गलत सूचना गएको भन्दै राष्ट्रिय पोसाक सर्वोच्च अदालतले तोक्ने होइन, अदालतबाट रिट मात्रै खारेज भएको हो भन्यो । यद्यपि मधेसी मोर्चाका नेताहरूले प्रधानन्यायाधीशलाई भेटेर रिट खारेज भएकामा गुनासो गरेका थिए ।

प्रधानमन्त्रीको छनोट सम्बन्धमा राष्ट्रपतिले दुईपटक दिएको सहमतीय पद्धतिको म्याद गुज्री बहुमतीय प्रणालीमा पुग्नै लागेको घडीमा व्यवस्थापकीय संसद्को बैठक अवरुद्ध हुन लाग्यो भनेर सभामुख सुवास नेम्वाङको साँच्चै टाउको भारी हुन पुग्यो । राष्ट्रिय पोसाकका सवालमा संसद्को बैठक स्थगित गर्न हुँदैन भन्ने सोचमा सभामुखले हिमाल, पहाड, तराई सबै क्षेत्रका सबै जातिको सांस्कृतिक पहिरन राष्ट्रिय पोसाक भएको तर्फ सरकारको ध्यानाकर्षण गराउँदै मैदानी भागका सभासदलाई मत्थर पारे ।

यहाँ जिज्ञासा उत्पन्न हुन्छ- नेपालीको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक के हुने हो या कुन हुनुपर्ने हो ? यो पंक्ति लेख्दासम्म नेपाल सरकारको ज्युँदै रहेको सूचनाले दौरासुरुवाललाई मानेको छ । सर्वोच्चको फैसला आदेशमा जेजस्तो तोक्नुपर्ने नपर्ने हो सरकारले नै गर्ने हो भन्ने मनशायसाथ पन्छँदै रिट निवेदन खारेज गरिएको पाइयो । संविधानसभा अध्यक्षले हिमाल, पहाड, मैदान गरी यी तीनै क्षेत्रका पहिरन राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हो भन्ने मनशायका साथ सरकारको ध्यान खिचेका छन् । यस सम्बन्धमा प्रश्न उठेको छ, एउटै राष्ट्रको नागरिकको तीन प्रकारको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हुन सक्छ या सक्दैन ?

हिमाल, पहाड र मैदानको नेपाल

नेपाल राज्यको भूबनोट मूलतः हिमाल, पहाड र मैदान रहेको छ । हाम्रो देशको नाम नेपाल रहेको हुनाले ‘ने’ ले हिमाल भन्ने सांकेतिक भाव जनाउन सक्छ भने ‘पा’ ले पहाड र ‘ल’ ले मैदान भन्ने बुझाएको मान्न सकिन्छ । अर्कोतर्फ ‘नेपाल’ शब्दलाई लाक्षणिक तरिकाले मानव शरीरका रूपमा लिने हो भने ने-पा-ल भन्ने तीन अक्षरले शिर, पेट र खुट्टाको भाग भन्ने जनाउन सक्छ । यसैगरी वेशभूषाका हिसाबले ने अर्थात हिमालले शिरको टोप/टोपी, पा अर्थात पहाडले दौरा/भोटो एवं ल अर्थात मैदानले सुरुवाल -पाइजामा/धोती) हो भनी बुझाउन सक्छ । यसै सिलसिलामा सभामुख महोदयले तीनै भौगोलिक क्षेत्रका सबै जातिको पहिरन राष्ट्रिय पोसाक भएको संकेत गर्नुभएका सम्बन्धमा टोपी, भोटो र पाइजामा नेपालीको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हो भन्न खोज्नुभएको हो कि ?

वास्तवमा हिमाली भेकका बासिन्दाले सांस्कृतिक हिसाबमा सामान्यतया बख्खु, दोचा र टोप लगाउने गरेका छन् । यस्तै पहाडी खण्डका बासिन्दाले टोपी, भोटो र सुरुवाल लगाउँछन् भने मैदानी भागका जनताले कुर्ता र पाइजामा -धोती) प्रयोगमा ल्याउने गरेका छन् । प्राकृतिक मौसमी वातावरणअनुसार हिमालको काखमा धोतीले जाडो छेक्न सक्दैन भने मैदानी भागको प्रचण्ड गर्मीमा बख्खु थाम्न सकिँदैन । हाम्रो देश बहुसांस्कृतिक मात्रै होइन, बहुप्राकृतिक पनि रहेको छ । यस अर्थमा नेपाली समाजमा हावापानीअनुसार बहुवेशभूषा रहेको छ भन्ने कुरामा कुनै शंका छैन ।

पोसाक र देशको पहिचान

बहुवेशभूषाका सम्बन्धमा एउटै राष्ट्रको तीन किसिमको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हुन सक्छ या सक्दैन भन्ने कुरा अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय परिप्रेक्ष्य र नेपालको पहिचानका सन्दर्भमा हेर्नु युक्तिसंगत ठहर्न सक्छ । विश्वका कतिपय देशका वेशभूषाले नै त्यस देशको पहिचान बोकेको पाइन्छ । उदाहरणार्थ, भुटानको घो -लामो बख्खु) राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हो भने साउदी अरेबियाको घाँटीदेखि गोलिगाँठोसम्म छोपिने बाहुला भएको कमिज ‘थोबे’ र खप्पर छोप्ने ‘तगियाह’ पर्न आउँछ । यस्तै श्रीलंकाको चाहिँ सामान्यतया कोलार नभएको बाहुलावाला लामो कुर्ता र खुट्टासम्म लत्रेको धोती राष्ट्रिय पोसाक मानिन्छ ।

नेपालमा अहिलेसम्म दौरासुरुवाल, कोट, र टोपीले राष्ट्रको सूर्यचन्द्र अंकित दुई त्रिकोणीय राष्ट्रिय झन्डाले जस्तै नेपालको पहिचान केही मात्रामा भए पनि बनाएको महसुस गरिएको छ । नेपालको राष्ट्रिय झन्डाको आकारप्रकार नफेरिने कुरा पक्का भएको जस्तो छ । तर राष्ट्रिय पोसाकका सन्दर्भमा अनेक कुरा उठेका छन् । यो पारम्परिक भयो, लगाउन असजिलो छ, गरम प्रदेशमा सहजयोग्य भएन भन्ने कुरा बजारमा चलेको छ । अब सहज र तीनवटै भौगोलिक क्षेत्रको हावापानीअनुसार सबै नागरिकका लागि पाच्य हुने गरी कसरी र कुनचाहिँ पहिरनलाई राष्ट्रिय पोसाकका रूपमा तोक्ने भन्ने कुरा गम्भीर रूपमा खडा भएको छ ।

यस सम्बन्धमा मनन गर्नुपर्ने कुरा के छ भने राष्ट्रिय पोसाक भनेको खेतमा हिलिन जाँदा, व्यापारमा सौदाबाजी गर्दा, मलामी र जन्ती जाँदा लाउनै पर्ने बाध्यात्मक पहिरन होइन । यो त राष्ट्रको औपचारिक सभासमारोहमा लगाउनुपर्ने पोसाक हो । देशको प्रतिनिधित्व गर्दै विश्वका विभिन्न देशको औपचारिक निम्तोमा अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सम्मेलन महोत्सवमा जाँदा नेपाल र नेपालीको पहिचानका निम्ति लागाइने आफ्नो देशको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हो । जसरी नेपालको राष्ट्रिय झन्डा विश्वका झन्डाहरूबीच अलग्गै प्रकारले पहिचान गर्न सकिन्छ, त्यसै गरी पोसाकले पनि छुट्टै पहिचान बनाउन सक्यो भने टाढैबाट नेपाली चिनिन सक्ने हुन्छ । कतिपय देशका बासिन्दाले नेपालको नाम नसुनेको पनि हुन सक्छ । तर उनीहरूलाई नेपाल भनेको माउन्ट एभरेस्टको देश हो अथवा शेर्पा गाइडको देश हो, बुद्धको जन्म भएको देश हो, गोर्खा सिपाहीको देश हो भनेमा उनीहरूले तत्काल नेपालको पहिचान गर्न सक्छन् । यस्तै कुरा नेपालीको राष्ट्रिय पोसाकमा पनि अड्किएको छ ।

साँच्चि नै भन्ने हो भने व्यवस्थापिका संसद्को बैठकमा बस्ने सभासदहरूका लागि कुर्ता पाइजामाकै भए पनि एउटा खास ‘ड्रेस कोड’ तोकिनुपर्ने हो र सबै सभासदले अनुसरण गर्नुपर्ने हो । यद्यपि दौरासुरुवाललाई कतिपय सभासदले अंगीकार गरेका छन् । व्यवस्थापिका संसद् भनेको राट्रको गरिमामय विधायिका अंग हो । संसद्को बैठक कक्षमा पसेपछि पोसाकले पनि सांसदलाई संवेदनशील बनाउँछ र जिम्मेवारी बोध गराउन सक्छ । अहिलेको परिस्थितिमा कुनै सभासद सेन्डोगन्जी, कट्टु र फ्याङ्ले चप्पलमा बैठक कक्षभित्र पसी पोडियममा बोल्न पुगे भने पनि सभामुख महोदयले उनलाई टुलुटुलु हेर्दै ध्यानाकर्षण गराउलान् । सर्वविदितै छ, अधिकांश सभासद बैठक सेसनमा पूर्ण पोसाकमा आउँदैनन् । कुर्ता पाइजामा भए पनि पूर्ण सेटको लिवास हुनुपर्ने हो । यही नै खड्केको कुरा रहेको छ ।

राष्ट्रिय पोसाक र औपचारिक समारोह

राष्ट्र प्रमुख तथा सरकार प्रमुखको औपचारिक राजकीय भ्रमणको सयम त आफ्नो राष्ट्रको इज्जतका लागि राष्ट्रिय पोसाक अनिवार्य हुन्छ । पश्चिमा देशका सभासमारोहका निम्ताकार्डमा ‘ड्रेस कोड’ किटिएकै हुन्छ ‘नेसनल या र्फमल या क्याजुअल’ का रूपमा । त्यसमा पनि शान्त रात्रिभोजको ड्रेस कोड अलग्गै पनि हुन सक्छ । यस्ता भोजमा तक्मा अलंकारको ‘मिनियचर’ लगाउनुपर्ने पनि हुन्छ । उदाहरणका निम्ति उल्लेख गरौं, यस्ता औपचारिक राजकीय भ्रमणका निम्तोमा उपस्थित तीनजना नेपाली पदाधिकारीको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक तीनथरीको भयो भने यसभन्दा लाज मर्नु कुरो केही पनि हुँदैन । यसबाट नेपाल राष्ट्रको नीतिनियममा एकाम्यता तथा एकरूपता रहेनछ भनी अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय समुदायले बुझ्नेछन र नेपाली-नेपालीबीचको फुटको सन्देश विदेशी जगत्मा प्रवाह हुनेछ । त्यसैले राष्ट्रको तोकिएको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक हुनैपर्‍यो र त्यसैलाई सबै पदाधिकारीले अनुसरण गर्नुपर्छ ।

अन्त्यमा

देशको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक आफैंमा पूर्ण हुनुपर्छ । उपमाका निम्ति मैदानी भागको पहिरनलाई राष्ट्रिय पोसाकका रूपमा मान्नैपर्ने हो भने कुर्ता, पाइजामा, घाँटीसम्म ढाक्ने जवारीकोट, छालाको मोटो चप्पल र काँधमाथि पातलो गम्छा हुनैपर्छ । यसमा कपडाको रङ पनि किटान हुनुपर्छ । अर्कोतर्फ कोट, पाइन्ट र कमिजलाई राष्ट्रिय पोसाक मानियो भने यसमा नेकटाइ र टोपी हुनैपर्छ । नत्र पोसाक अपूरो हुन्छ । कोट पाइन्टलाई राष्ट्रिय पोसाक मानिएमा नेपालको राष्ट्रिय पोसाक युरोप र अमेरिकी पोसाकको हुलमा बिलाउन जानेछ । उनीहरूको भीडमा नेपालीको छुट्टै पहिचान हुन सक्दैन ।

छिमेकी देश चीनमा माओत्सेतुङकालमा माओकोट र पाइन्टलाई राष्ट्रिय पोसाकका रूपमा लिइएको थियो । उनको देहावसानपछि सुट र नेकटाइ अवलम्बन गरिएको बुझिन्छ । अर्का छिमेकी देश भारतमा जवाहरलाल नेहरूका पालामा शेरवानीको प्रचलन रहेको थियो । हिजोआज घाँटीसम्म ढाकिने कोट प्रचलनमा ल्याएको देखिन्छ । भारत र चीनमा बहेको हावाले नेपाललाई पनि छोएको हो भने दौरासुरुवालरूपी राष्ट्रिय पोसाकमा फेरबदल गर्नैपर्ने जस्तो अवस्था आएको छ । तर यसमा नेपालको आफ्नो मौलिकता झल्किनैपर्ने हुन्छ । हिमाली भेक र पहाडको उत्तरी खण्डका बासिन्दालाई पाच्य र सबैलाई मान्य हुन्छ भने खैरो रङको बाँकटे भोटो र छोटो मोहतामा सेफ्टी हालेको पाइजामा अनि गुलाफी वर्णको सक्कली ढाकाटोपी र आकाशे निलो रङको घाँटीसम्म ढाकिने जवारकोट तथा मोटो तलुवा भएको छालाको कालो चप्पल राष्ट्रिय पोसाकका रूपमा तोकिए नेपालको बजारमा राष्ट्रिय पोसाकसम्बन्धी होहल्ला रोकिने थियो । यसबाट टोपीले हिमाली भेकको प्रतिनिधित्व गर्ने र बाहुले भोटोले पहाडी खण्ड सम्झाउने तथा पाइजामाले मैदानी भागको पहिरन बुझाउने सम्भावना भएकाले सबै वर्ग तैंचुप-मैंचुप हुन्थे कि !

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Book Review : Indo-Nepal Frontier Dam and Embankment

                                      Dams in India-Nepal Border

Border Diplomacy

 

Including Border Diplomacy

Buddhi N Shrestha

A national seminar entitled ‘Nepal’s Foreign Policy in the Changing Context’ was organized by the Constitutional Assembly International Relation and Human Rights Committee on 15 August 2011. The seminar was held at Constitutional Assembly Building, Lhotse Hall in BICC. The seminar was inaugurated by Honorable Subash Chandra Nemwang, Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly.

During the interaction time, some of the participants spoke about various types of diplomacy, such as economic diplomacy, basket diplomacy etc. But I spoke on the border diplomacy in relation to the foreign policy of Nepal.

In fact, Nepal’s foreign policy uses to be shaky time and often especially when there are incidents between Nepal and India and Nepal and China. Similarly, it fluctuates in connection to the changing relation between China and India. The most important thing is that border diplomacy has not yet mentioned in Nepal’s foreign policy.

If I have to talk about the border diplomacy, it is the art and practice of conducting international boundaries negotiations between nations. It usually refers international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to issues of peace-making culture through mutual understanding.  Diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge or problem in a non-confrontational or polite manner. At the same time, border diplomacy is an enterprise which necessitates an untiring  supply of talented individuals with facts and figures to convey and convince foreign boundary and surveying experts, in one or the alternative way.

Nepal’s border diplomacy consists of two facets of the same coin. One is the border demarcation diplomacy and the other face is border management diplomacy.

1. Border Demarcation Diplomacy

  1. Border between two nations shall be demarcated in a joint working basis. Strip maps and GIS data concerning border business should be prepared and established jointly, since border is common to both nations.
  2. Boundary demarcation problems shall be resolved on the basis of friendship, brotherliness, mutual respect, understanding and reciprocity.
  3. Border shall be demarcated on basis of old maps, documents, data and reference materials.
  4. If there are differences in some segments of the borderline, that shall be settled with the formation of joint technical level committee and high level joint commission.
  5. Track-II diplomacy shall be adopted to find out the modality, ways and means to make study and research for the amicable settlement of the problems. Diplomats must prepare a solution paper on the basis of facts and figures. They must keep in touch with the counterpart Track-II diplomats of the neighboring country to find out the solution.
  6. Content of solution paper shall be discussed broadly on the political level and it should be passed by majority with some amendment and addition. Finally it shall be adopted as the ‘National Border Diplomacy or Policy’ of the nation. This guideline policy matter should be adopted and spoken by all political party leaders, bureaucrats and technocrats with the counterpart personnel.
  7. Finally, Head of Government must talk to his counterpart of neighboring country, on the basis of national border diplomacy to negotiate and solve the border demarcation problems.
  8. If there is no way out even on the level of Head of Government, the diplomacy tactic shall be taken to seek mediation diplomacy form the third country. Both the nations should be entrusted to the mediating country.
  9. If the mediation diplomacy is not successful or entrusted, then the next step shall be to knock the door of the international institutions or organizations, such as United Nations Security Council or International Court of Justice. But it is the virtue of a country to inform officially to the neighboring country, before going to the international organization for petition.
  10. The State shall go to the international organizations to seek justice, on the issue of border business, to preserve the national sovereignty and to maintain integrity.

1.1 Nepal-India border demarcation diplomacy

  1. It is said that 90 percent of Nepal-India border has been demarcated. 182 strip-maps have been prepared and 8,852 border pillars and markers have been established.
  2. There are problems in remaining 2 percent of the border line. It means nearly 38 kilometer of borderline has not yet demarcated, since there are 1,808 kilometer border between Nepal and India.
  3. Within the spotted span of 38 kilometer, there are encroachments, disputes, claims and counter-claims in more than 54 places, having 60,000 hectares in area. The largest chunk of encroachment is the Kalapani-Limpiyadhura in Darchula district and its area is nearly 37,000 hectare. The second disputed/encroached area is Susta, as 14,000 hectare in Nawalparasi district. Besides, there are disputes, claims and counter-claims in other 52 places having 9,000 hectare of land. The smallest piece of encroachment is 240 square meter (Nearly half a Ropani) of land, located at Phatak of Pashupatinagar Village Development Committee in Ilam district.
  4. These 2 percent (38 km) of unsettled spots should be handled as per the norms of border demarcation diplomacy, as stated in above mentioned heading number one.

1.2 Nepal-China border demarcation diplomacy

  1. Boundary Protocol shall be renewed with an interval of ten years, since the demarcation was completed and first Protocol was signed on 20 January 1963.
  2. Border line shall be supervised and monitored jointly and report should be prepared.
  3. Damaged and missing border pillars and markers shall be repaired and established accordingly.
  4. New strip-maps shall be prepared digitally on the basis of previous maps, adopting new technology, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) observations and establishment of Geographical Information System (GIS) data.
  5. India-Nepal-China Tri-junction Points (Zero Marker) shall be established on both ends of the border line with equal co-operation of both India and China.

2. Border Management Diplomacy

Border management diplomacy shall be adopted on the basis of dynamic equilibrium on both China and India. There is a quotation of the Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great ‘Nepal is a yam between two boulders.’ But the situation has been changed and it has to be re-visualized in the changing context of not only Nepal, but also changing situation of China and India as well. Now it will not be exaggerated to say that ‘Nepal should be a bridge on two boulders.’

2.1 Nepal-China border management diplomacy

  1. Nepal and China has a regulated border management system.
  2. Not to allow anti-China activity from the Nepali soil, border out-post and immigration check-post shall be established just close to the border crossing points. Presently, these posts have been located ten-twenty kilometer far from the border line. For example, Lamabagar Police post at Dolakha district has been established 22 kilometer south of the border crossing-point. In fact, it should be established at Lapche Gaun.
  3. Policy to increase the number of border observation post (BOP) of Armed Police Force shall be adopted, so that illegal Tibetan infiltration will be checked.
  4. Nepali timber, Himalayan herbs like expensive Yarsagamba shall be checked, not to export illegally to Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, establishing BOPs close to border crossing-points.

2.2 Nepal-India border management diplomacy

  1. At present, there is an open border system. But it has not worked well in the matter of security concern of both the countries. So it shall be converted into regulated system in mutual co-operation with the perspective of security issue for both nations. Policy shall be taken to regulate the border in a phase wise basis.
  2. To start to regulate the open border, number of Armed Police Force shall be increased in the first phase. BOP should be established close to the border line, but not in No-man’s Land (Dasgaja Area). Presently, some of these posts have been located 2 to 4 kilometer towards Nepal side.
  3. In the second phase, identity card (ID Card) system should be introduced for the travelers, who cross the international border. But the frontier inhabitants, who are the residents with 5 kilometer of the border, should be permitted to cross the border many times a day.
  4. In the third phase, barbed-wire fencing shall be erected on the border. But there must be 181 exit/entry crossing-points, since the length of the border line is 1,808 kilometer. It’s high time to regulate Nepal-India border to obstruct cross-border terrorism, criminal activities, smuggling and counter-fit Indian currency notes. Regulated system shall be initiated with the joint decision, as the regulated system was implemented in air route with a joint decision, after the hijacking of Indian Aircraft from Kathmandu in 1999.

 

3. Last item

Study shall be made to know the feeling and intention of the people of both frontiers, on the alternatives of the existing open border regime. Policy shall be formulated according to their wish and need. If there are some chaos and irritants on the border, they will be the first and direct sufferer.

Policy for the integrated development (including physical, economic and social development) project in the frontier area shallbe formulated and implemented. Border area is a sensitive segment of the country. If there are some muddle and disturbances in border area, inhabitants of both the frontiers will be suffered directly in the very first stroke.

Mumbai terrorist attack : its impact in Nepal

Mumbai terrorist attack : its impact in Nepal

Triple bomb blasts rocked three busiest and most crowded areas of Mumbai, financial capital of India on the evening rush hour of July 13, 2011. 19 people were killed on the spot and more than 130 injured. 7 people have succumbed to death recently, who were said to be injured. There was a large hue and cry among those who were survived and injured, just after the blast. Blood covered bodies lay on the street and people hugged and wept. Others carried the wounded to taxis to take to the hospital. In connection to this incident, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi just after the incident that this was a coordinated attack by terrorists. In the mean time, the administration put entire city of Metropolitan Mumbai on high alert to maintain security.

Nepal’s concern

These events have impacted security concern in Nepal in connection to the ramification of the serial blasts in Mumbai. It was envisaged that Mumbai terrorist could cross the border and may hide in Nepal. It is because that India and Nepal has an open border regime. There are some ungoverned border spaces between two nations as well. So the terrorists and unwanted element could transit from one country to another easily.

In connection to Mumbai blasts, an emergency meeting of the central security committee was held in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu. Nepal government directed to the security agencies to keep vigil on suspects in Nepal-India border and Tribhuvan International Airport. It was also instructed to ensure that the terrorists involved in Mumbai attacks may not use Nepal as their shelter and transit point. To implement the directives, special security arrangements were made along the porous borders and the only international airport.

This proves that large scale incidents in India have undoubted affects on Nepal. Generally, terrorists create havoc in India and they flee into the Nepali territory and vice versa. This is largely due to the fact that there is an open border between two nations.

Heart pinching attack  

It is really a shock that triple bombings were the worst terror attack in three locations of Mumbai within a duration of ten minutes. The first blast struck the crowded bustling Jhaveri Bazar, which is famous for the trading of wholesale gold and jewelry market. A minute later, a second blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, which is called ‘Diamond Hub’ for India’s prosperous diamond exporter. This is also the tourist destination of Mumbai. After ten minutes, the third bomb exploded in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar Kabutar Khana (Pigeon House) junction, where businessmen on their way to the railway station often stop to feed grain to the pigeons.

It was presumed that the bombs were made of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient for fertilizer commonly used in improvised devices with electronic detonators. The first bomb was planted along the road under an umbrella and the second one exploded in a scooter motorbike, and the third one was kept on the roof of a bus stop.

No radical organization has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Indian government has laid suspicions on the Indian Mujahideen (IM), an underground terrorist group sworn to avenge the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in the neighboring State of Gujarat. On the other hand, India thinks that a remote possibility is the Pakistan-based separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, known for its sympathies for al-Qaeda; since LeT has been providing ideological and physical training to the IM for some years.

In response to the incident, some of the countries consoled India on the loss of life of Indian people and called to unite against terrorism. Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State expressed ‘I believe it is more important than we stand with India, deepen our partnership, and reaffirm our commitment to the shared struggle against terrorism.’ Similarly, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei expressed that ‘China condemns the attack. We are willing to work together with the international community that includes India to combat terrorism.’

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed their deepest sympathies to the Indian leadership on the loss of lives, injuries and damages to property in Mumbai. Likewise, President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal sent messages to their Indian counterparts describing the blasts as a cowardly act of terrorism. It says ‘Nepal condemns terrorism in all forms and manifestations.’

It is to be noted that those who expressed condolences, they have used the word ‘terrorist.’ It denotes that the perpetrators disregard for national boundaries. So it has to call for strengthening border management to obstruct the terrorists.

Chronology of attacks

This is not the first time that Mumbai has to tolerate such bomb attacks. The November 26-29, 2008 LeT gunmen attacks on two hotels, railway station and Jewish center of Mumbai killed 195 people and 3 hundred 27 were injured. Ten militants laid siege to India’s financial capital for sixty hours and paralyzed the city. Similarly, serial explosions blasted at a time in seven railway stations on July 11, 2006 killed 209 persons and seven hundred wounded. On August 25, 2003, 50 persons died and 244 injured at the explosion in Gateway of India and Jhaveri Bazar area. There were also similar type of explosions and bomb attack in thirteen places around Mumbai Metropolis on March 12, 1993 by Dawood Ibrahim gang. As a result, 257 people risked fatalities and 1100 were injured in the incident. Numerous attacks of smaller scale have occurred in Mumbai too.

Why Mumbai is targeted?

It is well known that Mumbai is the financial capital of India. Not only the people of India, but also the people of the other side of the globe say that Mumbai is the heart of Indian economy and richest city of the nation. It is the palpitation of the progress of India. Some other says, Mumbai is the lifeline of India and it is like a golden bird.

On the other hand, large number of foreigners stays there and Mumbai is home to several powerful organized criminal gangs that run extortion, money laundering and smuggling rackets. There are active real estate and in financing and distributing Bollywood films as well.

India has long been under the threat of militant attacks by a variety of groups including separatists in the north-east Hindu nationalists and Islamists. The Maoist rebels control vast swathes of India’s countryside, the so called ‘Red Corridor.’ The Indian Mujahideen is described by global intelligence firm to carry out low to medium intensity attacks. These groups are eyeing Mumbai as their priority. If Mumbai cracks down, it will affect the economy of entire nation. So Mumbai is soft targeted by the terrorists.

Regulation of border

There is an open border regime between Nepal and India. People of both nations can cross the international boundary without any interrogation. Terrorists and unwanted element may cross the border in a disguised manner as Indian or Nepali inhabitants; as their face, attire, posture and behavior resemble. It has enhanced the cross-border crimes and illegal infiltration year after year.

It is interesting to mention that suspected criminals of 1993 Mumbai bomb attack, Salim Abdul Gani Gazi (alias Asfak Ahmed Shah) and Riyaz Khatri (alias Riyaz Ahmed Lone) were arrested by Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Crime Division in Thamel on September 4, 2008. The Police handed them over to the Indian government on the request of the National Central Bureau (NCB) Interpol, India. The duo happened to be staying in Kathmandu for 12 years in the guise of a manpower agent and an employee at a handicraft store in the city. They would often travel to Dubai and Saudi Arabia under assumed names. This was possible largely, because of the porous border. So the time has come to adopt some alternative measures to replace the existing system, to maintain security in both the nations.

The first alternative measure may be to introduce the identity card system that has to be produced while crossing the international border. Next alternative will be fencing the frontier with 180 exit/entry points. In this context, Indian State of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has demanded that the Indo-Nepal border should be properly fenced to check for illegal infiltration, smuggling of narcotics, fake currency and human trafficking, criminal and other related activities from across the Nepal as well as home grown Red-extremism’ (Times of India, February 4, 2011). It is imminent, with such incidents, that the Nepal-India border be regulated to at least to introduce ID card system and increase the number of Armed Police Force in order to block unwanted people that could not affect Nepal by such incidents occurred in Indian cities.

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