Byas Municipality of Darchula which shares border with India and China in this recent photo.
Indian security personnel carrying out activities which are against international protocol, say the locals of Lipulek
DARCHULA, May 18: Locals living in Kalapani and Lipulek lament that Nepal's territory in the area is ever shrinking due to border encroachment. While they have noticed pillars on Nepal's side often going missing, the high-handedness of the Indian security personnel in their villages and towns bother them a lot. According to Dan Singh Tinkari, a local of Byas Rural Municipality-1, Nepal government's presence and influence in Lipulek – the border area shared by Nepal, China and India – should have been stronger.
"This is a very sensitive issue. Our government's presence should have been strong enough to guard the nation's area at least. India carries out activities unitarily and our government stays quiet," he noted.
He stated that the locals are not happy with the 'barging in of Indian security personnel as they please' in their villages. They carry out activities which are against international protocol.
"We watch everything helplessly. Our resources and even land are at risk. It is very sad that the Indian security personnel trouble us in our own land. We cannot tolerate it anymore," said Dan Singh Tinkari.
"We watch everything helplessly. Our resources and even land are at risk. It is very sad that the Indian security personnel trouble us in our own land. We cannot tolerate it anymore," he said.
While the presence of Indian security forces in the border area is thick, a few Nepal Police personnel are seen around Dumling, which lies north to the Mahakali River. "Our police's presence is negligible," said Tinkari.
Dilip Singh Budhathoki, chairperson of Byas Rural Municipality, accused the federal government of being negligent toward the border security. Even when India is encroaching the land of Nepal, the government has not raised the issue with any seriousness, he noted.
"Let alone the safety and security of people, the government has not cared about the land as well. We don't have passage to reach from one village to another in our own country. We are compelled to use India's land," he said. "Since our government has not taken care of a lot of such sensitive issues, we feel ignored. We are also bullied by the Indian security forces," he added.
He, however, stated that the local government is concerned about the matter and is trying to do its best to make people feel safe and secure.
He also complained that even though there is restriction for foreigners in certain parts of Lipulek and Kalapani of Byas Rural Municipality in Darchula, the ban has not been strictly observed. "There is no monitoring, so the restriction hasn't become effective," he said.
Chairperson Budhathoki maintained that the issue of border comes under national security and this has to be handled strictly by the central government rather than the provincial government.
"We do not have jurisdiction on many areas. It is the duty of the central government to take care of the border issues," he said.
The government had established a battalion of Armed Police Force at Darchula five years ago. In those five years, half a dozen high-ranking police officials inspected the area and concluded that there is a need to beef up security. They recommended establishing of police posts at different border points of Darchula, while Byas area was noted as the most sensitive zone in terms of border security. This message has been circulated to the government very often. The Home Ministry has been asked to do the needful to establish police posts without any delay.
"But despite all this, we feel that there is the lack of political will. Our leaders or the government is not duly serious over that matter," remarks Karbir Karki, chief of the District Coordination Committee of Darchula. "For the people living here for generations, it's painful to see all this."
According to DSP of Armed Police Force, Bhim Bahadur Chand, it is very important to have police posts at the sensitive areas also to prevent smuggling in the border. "When there is no strong security presence on our side, illegal activities are easily carried out," he noted. He added that preparations are underway to establish police posts at half a dozen border points in Darchula.
"In-depth study is being done. There are six such points where there is serious need to have security force," Chand said. "Smuggling of animal parts goes unabated when there are no check points along the border. In our side, there is lack of such check points," he said.
Meanwhile Tinkari stated that it is already too late to strengthen security in Lipulek and Kalapani. "The more we sit quietly and do nothing, the more we are at loss. As a country, we must be able to handle it the right way," he suggested.