While their border dispute with India seemed to have subsided after Kathmandu decided to refer the issue of changing its national map to the parliament, Nepal police fired indiscriminately killing an Indian and injuring four others in the bordering district of Bihar’s Sitamarhi. The victim was working on a farm when a bullet from the Nepali side of the border hit him.
The victim has been identified as Nageshwar Rai (25), a resident of Janan Nagar Tolle Lalbandi.
Following the shooting, the situation at the border is tense.
A group of Indians had earlier crossed the border into the Narayanpur village of the district despite the border restriction imposed to control the coronavirus outbreak and snatched a gun from a police staffer.
Nepal Police has taken Lagan Rai, the son of Vasishtha Rai of the village, into their possession. Whether or not Vashistha sustained a bullet injury too could not be ascertained. The injured have been referred to Sitamarhi for treatment. Border police of both countries are currently deployed along the frontier. The condition remains tense.
In the village near the Narayanpur-Lalbandi border, Nageshwar Rai, the father of the deceased, said, “Our land is located in Narayanpur in Nepal. My son was working in the field on the same land. Suddenly Nepali police opened fire.”
Earlier Nepal, which had recently published a new map showing territories of India as its own, had retraced its steps on this issue. A meeting that was scheduled for 27 May to amend the Nepalese constitution to update its map has been postponed.
The scheduled discussion in the Nepalese parliament for the amendment of the House of Representatives of Nepal has been postponed too. The parties have decided to seek a national consensus on the matter. The Government of Nepal on the occasion removed the proceedings of the constitutional amendment from the agenda of the parliament that day.
Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli called an all-party meeting then to form a national consensus on the new map issue, but political parties could not form an opinion on the issue. Any constitutional amendment in Nepal requires a two-thirds majority.
Leaders of Madheshi parties — it is widely alleged that people residing in the hills discriminate against the Nepali population that live in the plains, referred to as “madheshi” — are exerting pressure on the government to get their demands. A senior leader of the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) said, “We want our long-standing demands to be taken care of, but no satisfactory response has been received so far,” while Prime Minister Oli has said he is catering purely to the national sentiment. “The Madheshi and national integration issues in Nepal are interconnected,” the politician from JSP said.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party has a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, but it needs support from other parties to pass a constitutional amendment resolution in the lower house to revise its map. It has 10 seats short of a two-thirds majority in the lower house.
Observers of international relations believe Nepal found an excuse to defuse the tension in its bilateral links with India and it wasn’t really an issue of parliamentary ratification.
No, India-Nepal relations aren’t improving
But the observers proved wrong.Nepal lawmakers on 9 June “unanimously endorsed” a proposal for considering a Constitution Amendment Bill meant to validate Nepal’s controversial new map which includes territory in India’s Uttarakhand state. The approval for consideration of the Bill by the House of Representatives is significant as the Oli government doesn’t have majority in what is the lower house.
With all political parties having committed support though, the government tabled the Bill in the House Tuesday for discussion. The Bill seeks to validate the new map of Nepal by revising the map in the national emblem.