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Saturday 11 July 2020

Oli hyperbole reflects souring India-Nepal ties

On 21 May, KP Oli had said defying science the coronavirus reaching Nepal via India was more dangerous than that from China and Italy

Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, after releasing a new political map recently, calling the Indian territories of Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani parts of his country, has now blamed people moving from India for the fast-spreading coronavirus contagion in his country. Oli otherwise said that Nepal had fewer deaths than in South Asian countries.

The Nepalese prime minister said that due to people coming from India without proper checking, COVID-19 infection was spreading rapidly in his country.

“Those who are coming from India through illegal channels are spreading the virus in the country and some local representatives and party leaders are responsible for bringing in people from India without proper testing,” Oli had said in Nepal’s Parliament last week.

“It has become very difficult to contain COVID-19 due to the flow of people from outside. Indian virus looks more lethal than Chinese and Italian now. More are getting infected,” he had said.

Five days ago, Oli had said defying science that the coronavirus reaching his country via India was more dangerous than that which came to Nepal from China or Italy!

Perhaps looking at the strained India-Nepal relations as an opportunity to be in news again, virtually retired Bollywood actress of Nepali origin Manisha Koirala had issued a statement favouring her country on the territorial dispute between the two countries. Swaraj Kaushal, the widower of Sushma Swaraj, condemned her statement.

Earlier, the government of Nepal had sealed off all the entry points to capital Kathmandu, with an aim to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the densely-populated city.

The last occasion when the India-Nepal relations had soured so badly was when the Hindu kingdom headed by King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev gave way to a communist government where Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda ruled the roost. The politician who became the Prime Minister of Nepal then, Girija Prasad Koirala, was a great-uncle of Manisha Koirala, many among whose kin have been in politics.

Oli panicked by spike in COVID figures?

Nepal reported 79 new cases of coronavirus infections on Monday, raising the total number of infected people in that country to 682 as per health officials. Nepal has extended a nationwide lockdown until 2 June to prevent the spread of the virus.

Nepal is one of the countries with the lowest incidence of coronavirus disease (COVID).

According to the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal, 79 is the highest rise in the number of COVID cases on a given day in the country. Nepal enforced its lockdown on 24 March.

Nepal has cancelled all domestic and international flights till 14 June.

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