Sensing China’s rising influence in an uncertain political situation in Nepal, New Delhi has cast a dragnet. It has pushed the loyal Madhesi Front to support Baburam Bhattarai of UCPN (Maoist) in the election of Prime Minister by parliament couple of months ago. Madeshi Front entered into alliance with UCPN under a 4-point accord ostensibly articulated by New Delhi. The deal stipulated granting autonomy to ‘Madhesi Pradesh’ in the federal structure and recruitment of 10,000 youths in the army from the Madhesi region. How the Maoist party, virulent critic of New Delhi for its interference in internal affairs of Nepal, was foxed into signing the deal with Madhesi Front remained unknown. But it had evoked sharp criticism from different circles who viewed it as a secessionist move of the Madhesi Front. ‘India was successful in its design’, wrote the People’s Reviw of Nepal.
The Bhattarai cabinet is dominated by Madhesi Front which comprises legislators from the Tarai region bordering India, with the key portfolios including the Defence. Analysts viewed the 4-point accord as anti-national. Strongly opposing the accord, hardcore Maoist leaders say that the party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda has been duped to accept the deal to the perils of national integrity and also split in UCPN (Maoist). General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal told a meeting on October 1 that the party is on the verge either of dissolution or submersion due to the follies of Prachand-Bhattarai.
The evil design planted through the Madhesi Front was exposed recently. The Defence Minister Sarad Singh Bhandari (Madhesi Front) has publicly declared that “22 districts in Tarai can be separated from the Nepali map. None of the powers can stop such a development.” Bhandari’s statement is seen by political observers as a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nepal.
UCPN (Maoist) senior vice-chairman Mohan Baidya Kiron had strongly opposed the deal with Madhesi Front. Failing to stop Prachanda-Bhattrai, Baidya garnered majority support in the party’s central committee and threatened to take action against Prachanda-Bhattarai for entering into the deal with Madhesi Front.
Though late, realization has dawned on Prachanda. “I have had agreed to the 4-point deal with Madhesi Front and Bhattarai’s premiership under intense pressure,” Prachanda confessed publicly and admitted faults to his political guru Mohan Baidya. They are now engaged in intensive discussion to maintain unity of the party and safeguard the national interest.
Political analyst Prajwal Shrestha writing in the People’s View of Kathmandu on September 29 said the secessionist move exposed by Defence Minister Sarad Bhandari was planned years ago by Shyam Saran when he was Indian ambassador to Nepal. Later, when he assumed as foreign secretary, he played a vital role to implement the plan. After recognition of the entire Tarai region as one province with total autonomy, the Madhesh Pradesh will have the authority of developing close relations with India and also receiving necessary funds from India directly. In such a situation, the federal government’s control on Tarai will come to an end, and the Madhesi Pradesh will emerge as a separate entity under Indian protection.
He recalled that former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had committed a blunder by providing citizenship certificates to more than 4.2 million Indians in Tarai region. Immediately after that there was uprising in the region and the Madhesh Janadhikar Forum was formed. Likewise, many of the Indian criminals who have obtained Nepali citizenship now and are involved in criminal activities in the region. Many people displaced from the hill areas have been shifted to Tarai region. If one goes through the Indian support to the local community in Nepal, it can be seen that most of the cash and kind support have gone to the Tarai area.
In this backdrop, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is scheduled to fly to New Delhi on October 21 for his first official visit to India. Media speculated that New Delhi will ask him to sign extradition treaty, strip maps of the border, sign accord allowing India to deploy air marshals at Nepal airport. Bhattarai’s aide said the Prime Minister during his visit would stress for review of the peace and friendship treaty with India and issues of safeguarding national interest.
In case Bhattarai yields to the pressure of signing all those accords, “Nepal will no longer remain a sovereign state and that its status will be similar to that of Bhutan,” The Telegraph of Kathmandu quoted front ranking Maoist leader Haribhakta Kandel as saying: “Bhattarai will be taken as a Nepali version of Lendhup Dorjee (Dorjee of Sikkim had acceded to India) ... Nepal’s Security Council has gone to the hands of those who are looking after the benefits of India only,” added Kandel.
Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal who was dubbed as docile had withstood the pressure to endorse the controversial border strip maps surrendering thousands of acres of land. It is alleged that the strip maps were prepared by influencing the Nepali officials participating in the Nepal-India joint technical team and survey officers’ meeting. Reports said more than 60 thousand hectors of Nepali land has been encroached by India. A parliamentary committee headed by Padamlal Bishwakarma after on-the-spot survey has said that the joint technical team developed 182 strip maps showing Nepali lands in Indian territory in many of the maps. It has suggested fresh survey and redrawing of the strip maps of disputed area. Border expert Buddhinarayan Shrestha wrote with evidences that the Nepali lands have been encroached at 54 places.
BY : Shamsuddin Ahmed.