By PR Pradhan
Nepal is many more times smaller than India. Yet, the Indians are encroaching on Nepal’s land from Sandakpur, Pashupatinagar and Bhadrapur in the east to Kalapani and Tanakpur in the west and in many districts in the south. In Susta, the Indians have encroached thousands of acres of Nepali land. The encroaching process has continued. King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great had unified the present modern Nepal expanding the international borders from Tista in the east, Satlaj in the west, Himalayas in the north and Ganges River in the south. The East India Company, which never became successful to make Nepal a British colony, unilaterally captured a big portion of Nepali territory from Tista to Mechi River in the east, from Mahakali River to Satlaj River in the west and from the present borders to the Ganges River in the south by imposing the Sugauli Treaty.
After the Brits left India, another Treaty was endorsed in 1950. In the Treaty, it is stated that all previous treaties and agreements between Nepal and India will automatically be non-effective. The Shugauly Treaty, therefore, has become non-effective after the endorsement of the 1950 Treaty.
Therefore, Nepal can claim its lost territory, however, although we are said to be brave fighters, are unable to speak about the return of the Nepali territory captured by the Brits.
Sometime, this scribe suspects with own selves that whether we have got birth just to serve the foreign countries and just to fight for the sovereignty of the foreign countries! Are we just mercenaries? Nepalis in the Gorkha Regiments of the Indian Army are continuously being killed in the India-Pakistan borders. The family members will even not get the opportunity see the face of the dead bodies as the bodies are ceremonially burnt in India and the dead bodies are not allowed to be carried to their home in Nepal. Yet, the Nepalies have no complaints. The Nepali citizens are being killed in foreign land just for protecting other countries’ sovereignty but they are unable to protect the sovereignty of their own motherland! How unfortunate is the situation!
According to international border expert Buddhinarayan Shrestha, out of 75 districts in Nepal, 26 districts share common borders with India.
Nepal shares 1880 kms long border with India, whereas, 1439.18 kms with China. There are encroachments, disputes, conflicts, claims and counter-claims in 71 spots and its total area is 60,662 hectare of land in 23 districts along Nepal-India borders. Most of these are related to cross-holding occupation by the people of the other frontier. Dhanusha, Baitadi and Dadeldhura are dispute free districts.
Ten years ago, the total number of such encroachments and disputes had been 53 spots and its area was 60,000 hectares in 21 districts. Now it shows that 18 disputed spots have been increased with additional 662 hectares of land and 2 more districts.
It is not that surprising to state that every time, the border pillars are being shifting towards the Nepali side. Earlier, the Junge Pillars were constructed to demark Nepal-India borders. Later, the Indians disqualified the existing demarcation. The Indians have one-sidedly developed the strep map of the borders. Nepal has denied accepting the Indian map. Both the sides could jointly develop the border map on the basis of historical documents but the Indian side is demonstrating hegemony while settling down the international border dispute. Even in the border points where the border issues have already been settled, the Indian side is reluctant in preserving border pillars. As per the agreement between Nepal and India, the pillars are numbered and every odd numbered pillar has to be maintained and preserved by one nation and even numbered pillar has to be maintained and preserved by another country. On maintenance and preservation of the pillars also, the Indian side is found reluctant. Nevertheless, if got the opportunity, overnight, the Indians demolish the border pillars and encroaches Nepali land.
The Indian side has deployed a huge number of Seema Surakchya Bal (SSB) on the Indian side. On the other hand, very nominal number of border security force has been deployed from the Nepal government to monitor and protect the border pillars. In Kalapani area, which is purely Nepali territory, above ten thousand Indian SSB personnel in around ten camps are stationed, whereas, there are just 15 Nepali border security force personnel under the command of a sub-inspector stationed around 10 kms faraway from Kalapani. That too will be shifted during the winter season. It is odd to notice that even by knowing the wicked attitude of India, why the Nepal government is reluctant for deploying more number of border security force in the bordering areas! Why the Nepal government is reluctant in recruiting more security personnel to protect Nepal’s international borders? Is this not an important task of the government?