Camps set up by Indian security forces in Kalapani in this recent photo. Photo: Republica
DARCHULA, Nov 20: Purnabas Municipality of Kanchanpur district allocated Rs 500,000 for the construction of a culvert some two years ago to facilitate the movement of the locals of Ananda Bazar.
The municipality initiated the construction with the help of the locals. The culvert was being constructed well within the Nepali territory about 500 meters inside the Nepal-India border.
But, the Indian border security force started vandalizing the culvert. As the culvert was in the Nepali territory, the locals protested against the move of the Indian side. The Indian security personnel opened fire on the protesters. A Nepali citizen Govinda Gautam was shot dead by the Indian border security officials.
As Indian side opened fire on protesters, the construction of the culvert was halted. “The Indian side obstructed the construction of the culvert in Purnabas Municipality-4. It also vandalized the structure that was already constructed,” said Jeevan Thapa, mayor of Purnabas Municipality, adding that the Indian side opened fire on protesters, killing an innocent Nepali citizen.
“After the incident, the construction of the culvert didn’t gather pace. Locals also don’t go to the place,” he added.
The Indian security force has been obstructing infrastructural development in several places of the region. Thapa further added that the Indian side has also obstructed infrastructure development in ward no 6, 8 and 9.
“It has been difficult to expedite infrastructural development projects in the region. The Indian side has been obstructing the construction of roads, culverts, among others,” Thapa said, adding that the locals have been hit by the move from the Indian side. The Indian side has also obstructed the municipality to set up wire fence inside the territory of Nepal.
“The municipality had planned to set up a wire fence to stop human trafficking, smuggling and other illegal activities. As the Indian side obstructed the construction of infrastructural development in the region, the municipality couldn’t set up the wire fence in the region,” Thapa said, further adding that the locals have been suffering from the highhandedness of India.
Locals say that the Indian side has been uprooting border pillars in region to encroach the Nepali territory. They say that the Indian side has encroached Nepal’s land by removing 200 pillars along the border.
“My husband was shot dead when he protested against the move of the Indian side,” said Sushila Gautam, the wife of Govinda Gautam. “The behavior of the Indian security personnel is still the same. The Indian side hasn’t even taken action against the culprit,” she said.
Man Bahadur Gurung, a local, said that the Indian side has already encroached upon the land where he used to graze his cattle.
“The border was almost 500 meters away from the culvert. The locals have been continuously informing about Indian encroachment to the government, but there has been no initiative from the Nepali side,” Gurung said.
Meanwhile, in Darchula, the Indian side has encroached upon Nepali territory, and set up security camps in Limpiyadhura and Kalapani. As per the Sugauli Treaty, the region belongs to Nepal, but the Indian security officials have set up camps well inside Nepal.
The Indian side has been obstructing infrastructural development inside Nepali territory near Kalapani region. They have been obstructing hindering the development of Byas Rural Municipality -1. The rural municipality had allocated budget for the construction of a hiking trail and a temple in the region but couldn’t do so due to the Indian obstruction.
Locals say that the Indian side had obstructed the construction of both the hiking trail and the temple in the region.
According to Amar Singh Aitwal, president of the temple construction committee, the Indian officials have been threatening the locals in the region. “After the Indian side threatened us not construct the temple, the construction was halted,” he added.
“The Indian side has been encroaching upon the Nepali territory in Kalapani region. The land where we had planned to construct the temple belongs to Nepal. But the Indian security forces have been threatening the locals in the region,” he said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had also urged India to recall its troops from Kalapani, which he said belongs to Nepal.