'We could regain Greater
Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, a former director general of the Department of Survey, is probably the most distinguished survey research scholar of
Shrestha, who was awarded the coveted Madan Prize 2057 for his book Boundary of Nepal, spoke to Kamal Raj Sigdel of The Kathmandu Post on the current Indo-Nepal border dispute. He says
Q: You have been a vocal critic of Indian encroachment on Nepali territory for a long time. What actually is the Nepal-India border dispute?
Shrestha: There are a number of reasons that trigger rows over the border no clear demarcation pillars, lack of historical documents, unclear points/articles in the border treaties, frontiers based on changeable river courses, one country considering itself superior to the other and the like.
The border problems remained after
And now in 2007, when loktantra has been established in
Q: Mainly, which parts of
Shrestha: There is a 1,808-kilometer-long border between
Q: Does the government recognize the fact that there are 54 border disputes that you just mentioned?
Shrestha: A meeting of the 31st Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee held in
Q: How was Kalapani encroached upon? And what is the dispute about?
Shrestha: In 1962, there was a fierce war between
At a meeting of the technical committee,
Q: What is the Susta border dispute about?
Shrestha: In the Susta area,
Q: What do you think are the reasons behind the arguments over the border with
Shrestha: The main reason is that 595 kilometers of the 1,808-kilometer-long Nepal-India border is defined by riverssuch as the Mechi in the east, Mahakali in the west, and the Narayani in the Susta area, which demarcates a 24-kilometer stretch of the international frontier. The rivers keep changing course and that gives rise to arguments.
Q: Are there any special reasons behind the encroachment in Susta? What do the Indians have to say?
Shrestha: There are five major reasons behind the Susta border dispute natural, technical, social, political and governmental. The natural reason is flooding. The
The technical reason is that no Junge pillar has been erected along the 24-km riverian border, perhaps because the river was considered to be a natural boundary at that time.
The social reason is that the population gradually increased on the Indian side adjoining Susta, and the Indian Special Services Bureau helped them to encroach on Nepali territory. Besides, when the Gandak Barrage at Bhaisalotan was completed, nearly 250 laborers that came to work on the construction project did not return but settled in the Susta area. They outnumbered the Nepalis and they encroached on more land.
The political cause is that the BJP in
They also have the backing of the Indian government as is proven by the fact that the SSB has been supporting the locals in their landgrab. The SSB has been torturing Nepalis frequently. But the presence of the Government of Nepal has not been felt.
Q: Are the government's efforts to resolve the disputes adequate?
Of late, however, the government is gradually becoming more aware. Parliament is also taking this issue seriously. Parliamentarian Kunta Sharma returned from a visit to the Susta area and claimed that Nepali lands had been occupied. The parliamentary foreign relations committee is also keeping a close watch. Various MPs have been raising the subject in Parliament.
Even the Prime Minister has expressed his commitment to look into it seriously. So the matter has now reached the highest level. I think that if the PM were to pursue it seriously, it can be resolved. The problem is that our leaders fear raising the border issue with
Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan talked to her Indian counterpart Pranav Mukherjee on December 7. Mukherjee said that the status quo should be maintained. But what does that mean? That is not the solution. Now that the issue has reached the Foreign Minster's level, it should be taken to the PM's level too.
The PM should look into it because the border is a serious national issue. If one square kilometer of our land is lost, the Nepali nationals living on it will be turned into aliens. Those responsible for losing Nepali territory should be punished for being traitors. Our head of state should not be afraid of talking to his Indian counterpart for the integrity of our national boundary. He should work fearlessly.
Q: Some border experts speak of a Greater
Shrestha: There is a concept of "Greater Nepal" which extends from Tista in the east to Kangra in the west. If
Such historical facts should be passed on to our future generations. What is important is that we should not forget our history and the historical facts.
The land we lost to the East India Company should not belong to
This means that
Places encroached upon by Indian
1) Kalapani-Limpidhura, 2) Brahmadev Temple-Purnagiri, 3) Tanakpur Barrage area, 4) Banawasa-Gadda Chauki, 5) Sarada Barrage area, 6) Suklaphata Das Gaja, 7) Pasan-Khudda Kankad, 8) Satti, 9) Khairi-Tapara, 10) Murtia, 11) Manpur-Vimmapur, 12) Santalia, 13) Holia-Nainapur, 14) Koilabas, 15) Krishnanagar-Danda River, 16) Danab River area, 17) Sunauli-Belhia pass, 18) Susta area, 19) Balmiki-Ashram area, 20) Dara Nala, Dari Chure, 21) Thori, 22) Laxmanpur- Pipara, 23) Sirsiya-Allau, 24) Gaur-Jamuna, 25) Tribhuvan Nagar, 26) Sangrampur, 27) Madar-Chandragunj, 28) Tandi-Siraha, 29) Subarnapatti, 30) Sakhada-Chinnamasta, 31) Lalpatti-Govindapur, 32) Kunauli, 33) Binpur-Shivangar, 34) Gobar Gada, 35) Kahaia-Vantabari, 36) Harinagaria-Shivagunj, 37) Sahebgunj, 38) Budhanagar-Jogabani, 39) Rangeli-Sopraha, 40) Bakraha (Luna) River, 41) Pathamari, 42) Maheshpur, 43) Bhadrapur, 44) Kakkarbhitta-Mechi Bridge, 45) Nakalbanda, 46) Bahundangi, 47) Pashupatinagar-Hile, 48) Mane Bhanjyang, 49) Sandakpur, 50) Sangthapu-Singalila, 51) Shivabhanjyang-Singalila, 52) Timbapokhari, 53) Maghena Tumling, 54) Kabeli-Kabu.