In a major escalation in friction between New Delhi and Kathmandu, Nepal government on Thursday decided to ban transmission of all private Indian news channels, claiming that they had been telecasting content hurting the country’s national sentiments, PTI reported. Only state-owned broadcaster Doordarshan will be allowed to continue beaming into Nepal.
India-Nepal ties have strained in the recent times with Kathmandu passing a constitutional amendment to redraw the national borders, to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli obliquely alleging that India was conspiring to remove him.
“We have stopped the distribution of all Indian news channels except Doordarshan,” Dinesh Subedi, the chairperson of foreign channel distributor Multi-System Operator, told reporters in Kathmandu.
“We have halted distribution of India’s private news channels as they have aired news reports hurting Nepal’s national sentiment,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nepal government has condemned some news reports by the Indian media that showed the country in a bad light.
“Nepal government condemns such acts,” said Minister for Finance, Information and Communication Yuvraj Khatiwada on Thursday.
“The government will seek political and legal ways against such an objectionable act,” he added.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha further said that the Indian media “must stop the baseless propaganda” against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his government, as it had “crossed all limits”.
In a recent development in late June, Oli alleged that “meetings” were being organised in Delhi against Nepal’s decision to amend its Constitution to include in its map Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura areas.
It is unthinkable… the things that are happening in Delhi against the amendment to the Constitution… Listen to the Delhi media. Look at the meetings being organised in India,” said Oli, referring to an alleged “plot” to overthrow his government. “You all must know Nepal’s nationalism is not that weak that outside forces will be able to topple it…” he had said.
However, top leaders of Nepal’s ruling communist party, including former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ last week demanded Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.”
Besides Prachanda, senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, Bamdev Gautam and Narayankaji Shrestha also asked Prime Minister Oli to provide evidence of his accusation and asked to quit the power, he said.
What the Prime Minister spoke was objectionable and inappropriate, they said. They also asked the Prime Minister to name the leaders who were behind the conspiracy to remove him.
They said the Prime Minister should resign on moral grounds as he spoke such “undiplomatic and nonpolitical remarks.” However, the Prime Minister who was also present at the meeting, did not make any comment.
“It shows that the Prime Minister was reduced to a minority both in the 48-member Standing Committee and nine-member Central Secretariat,” the senior leader of the NCP party said.
Nepal this month completed the process of redrawing the country’s political map through a Constitutional amendment, incorporating Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas which India maintains belong to it.
Tensions between India and Nepal escalated after Kathmandu, in a surprise move, issued a new political map which included Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, areas which have been part of the Indian territory.
It cited the Treaty of Sugauli in which the East India Company had demarcated the border between India and Nepal. According to the treaty, the eastern side of the river Kali is Nepal’s territory while the western is India’s.
But the controversy revolves around the interpretation of the treaty. Nepal takes Limpiyadhura as the origin of river Kali and claims Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani as its region.
Whereas, India says that the origin of river Kali is Kalapani (Kali name coming from Kalapani).
Meanwhile, India last month stressed that the relation between India and Nepal is not an ordinary one but that of “roti” and “beti”.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reiterated that the 80 km-long new road connecting the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand with Kailash Mansarovar route in Tibet inaugurated by him on May 8 is built on Indian territory.