KATHMANDU, April 12: Various India media reported on Friday that about 200 COVID-19 infected Muslim people are set to enter the India State of Bihar through Nepal's border with the ill intention of spreading the virus in the country under a plot from Pakistan.
Referring to a letter sent by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Bihar to some Indian authorities citing its intelligence report, various media reported the news implicating the chief of a local government in Parsa, Nepal.
Portraying Jalim Miya, chairperson of Jagarnathpur Rural Municipality, as the 'main infiltrator' under the plot, various Indian television channels displayed his photo as if he was a convict.
Now Miya has almost lost his voice giving clarifications to media, well wishers and relatives after the news was reported by the Indian media.
"I am exhausted giving clarifications to media and my well wishers since yesterday," Miya told Republica over the telephone on Saturday.
Nepal has reported only nine cases of COVID-19 so far including one already recovered. After Nepal decided to close all borders with India from March 23, around 1,600 Nepali citizens are stuck on the Indian side of the border while 700 Indian nationals are awaiting the border to open to cross the border. Given only a few cases of COVID-19 in the country and border closure, the claim of infiltration into India to spread the virus itself was unreliable.
"They have victimized a Muslim man, this time, but this is not the first time. They may victimize any of us - either Hindu, Muslim or any individual from any other religion in the future this way," Miya said.
After hearing about the news, he complained about the issue to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu, District Administration Office, Parsa, and also to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, seeking justice, he informed.
"I am not defamed alone as they have defamed the whole country and our people. I am not just a citizen of this this country. I also represent a local government here in my country," he said. "I challenge the Indian administration and media who have portrayed me as an infiltrator to substantiate their allegation against me."
Amid repeated news on various India media portraying Miya as an antagonist, he said he felt relief after the Nepali people and people from his community whole-heartedly consoled him through calls.
"Truth wins one day. I hope the Indian administration will refute their letter, Indian media will correct the news very soon and stop me from moving to the international court," he vented his ire.
He also called Indian security officials in Bihar over the telephone to inquire about the issue. According to Miya although they had a letter from their higher authority they told him not to worry, over the telephone. A senior Indian official of Bihar has told ANI News Agency that they alerted the police to tighten the border after suspecting possibility of infiltration from Nepal. Miya was elected the chief of Jagarnathpur Rural Municipality in 2017 from the then CPN-Maoist (Center) party. He has close relations with ruling Nepal Communist Party executive chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal.