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    » 10/10/2015, 00.00


    Nepal on the brink of civil war as India’s embargo unleashes hatred against Modi

    Christopher Sharma

    Members of the Madhese community have attacked and robbed Nepalis and Indians trying to cross the border for the Hindu festival of Dashain. The minority is retaliating for the government’s failure to meet its constitutional demands. Modi is ridiculed in a prayer at Nepal’s most important Hindu temple. Bomb explodes in the Buddha’s birthplace, without victims. An ambulance is set on fire.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s Madhese minority, which lives in the Morang district of the southern region of Terai, has turned against outsiders to protest an unofficial Indian embargo on its exports to Nepal.

    As a result of weeks of trade blockade, including basic items, many Madhese have begun using homemade weapons to attack and rob those who cross the Indian border.

    At the same time, anti-Indian hatred is mounting, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi scorned in a mock prayer in Nepal’s foremost Hindu temple.

    Since Nepal’s first secular and democratic constitution was approved, India has imposed an unofficial embargo. Few lorries are allowed to cross the border.

    According to local security forces deployed along the border areas to restore order because of the violent protests by minority groups, the Madhese are attacking Nepalis living in mountain areas and in the Himalayan region out of revenge against the government’s failure to meet their constitutional demands.

    "People are using the no man's land between the two countries to carry out their attacks,” said Constable Naresh in ​​Birgunj, Parsa district, on the border with the Indian state of Bihar.

    “Many Indians have tried to enter Nepal to celebrate Dashain (the biggest Hindu festival), but were beaten and robbed. We cannot do anything because it is not Nepali territory, whilst Indian police just stands and watch."

    The worst part, he added, "is that they are unleashing sectarian violence, since they only attack those who do not belong to the Madhese community."

    In addition to physical violence, members of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (United Madhese Democratic Front), an alliance of four Madhesi parties, set fire to an ambulance in Bardibas, Mahottari district.

    On Thursday, a homemade bomb exploded near Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace, without causing any casualties. The perpetrators of the act are still unknown.

    Meanwhile, the embargo is whipping up hatred against Modi, who has been blamed for the initiative.

    Some famous Nepali artists and officials staged a parody of the Indian prime minister, mocked with a prayer entitled "Chhyama Puja" ("forgiveness from sins," which usually involves asking the intercession of the gods).

    Many people, including comedians and the former government deputy secretary, attended the event, which has taken on a particular significance since it was held at the Pashupatinath Temple, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, where Modi prayed during his 2014 visit. The stated objective of parody was to "absolve him of the sins he committed by imposing a trade embargo on Nepal."

    In view of the situation, the US State Department issued an advisory for US citizens travelling to Nepal, warning that “Peaceful demonstrations can become violent. [. . .] Various commodities, including fuel, have become scarce because of a marked reduction of importation. [. . .] This shortage could disrupt public transportation around Nepal. Food, along with the provision of normal goods and services, might also be affected.”

    Two Chinese airlines – China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines – have also suspended flights to Kathmandu for lack of fuel.

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    See also

    18/02/2016 14:03:00 NEPAL – INDIA
    Nepal’s PM Oli in India to oppose interference in constitution, promote trade agreements

    During his six-day official visit, the Nepali prime minister’ will meet his Indian counterpart. This is the first visit since India ended its export embargo. Nepal has set specific guidelines for meetings, especially on its secular state and new Constitution. Four Memoranda of Understanding should be signed on trade.

    07/12/2015 NEPAL
    Nepal, Christmas celebrations bring hope even under Indian embargo
    Delhi has blocked goods exported to the country since 20 September. The population is suffering from severe shortages of food and basic necessities. The famous Hindu festival of Dashain and Diwali celebrated in a low key. Entrepreneurs expect industrial recovery due to Christmas sales. Many catechumens will be baptized on Christmas Eve.

    11/11/2015 NEPAL
    Kathmandu warns of a pending humanitarian catastrophe if India’s embargo does not end
    Nepal is calling on the international community to intervene to break the deadlock. For more than 45 days, India has imposed an embargo on exports to the Himalayan nation. As a result, humanitarian agencies are unable to deliver aid to earthquake victims. after meeting with Indian PM Modi, Nepal’s foreign minister said, “the Indian government turned a deaf ear” to the country’s plight. Overseas Nepalis plan demonstrations before UN offices.

    26/10/2015 NEPAL
    India’s fuel embargo affecting Nepali Christians and the poor as well
    More than half of Nepal’s Christians cannot go to church. Priests and pastors invite the faithful to pray, read the Gospel and engage in missionary outreach in their own neighbourhoods. Fuel shortages make travel hard for poor catechumens. Kathmandu and Beijing are set to sign an agreement today for regular fuel supplies through Nepal’s northern border.

    03/11/2015 NEPAL – INDIA
    Tensions rise between Kathmandu and Delhi after Indian national dies in ethnic protests
    Ashish Kumar Ram, 25, was hit by a fatal gunshot from Nepali police. He was taking part in a protest by ethnic Madhesi who opposed the constitution promulgated 81 days ago. Meanwhile, India’s unofficial trade embargo against Nepal is now in its 40th day. For Kathmandu, India is violating its sovereignty by infiltrating “thousands of plainclothes agents".

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