‘Unmaking Nepal’ through Madhesh!

Even India and the West cannot afford to push Nepal to the wall, amidst the geo-strategic location of this region which has enabled Nepal to exist as separate political entity for the last 2500 years.

By Sujit Mainali

sujit photoRestructuring of Madhesh was the main contentious issue that leads to the tragic demise of the first Constituent Assembly (CA) in Nepal. It is feared that the second CA also may witness a similar fate due to the same Madhesh factor. Leaders from all the political parties are reiterating that the fate of five districts in tarai (Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur) during the state restructuring is the only point where the political parties are extremely polarized and this contention has pushed the CA into a state of prolonged logjam. It is widely read that unless this controversial issue is resolved, the ongoing political deadlock will continue to derail the process of drafting the constitution, thereby pushing the Nepal towards a never-ending instability.

The interests of several groups, both from within and without, have converged on Madhesh and this has further complicated the situation. Nepal borders India from three sides while the territory in between river Koshi and Rauthat districts overwhelmingly harbours Nepali citizens of Indian origin. The open border phenomenon existing in between Nepal and India, and the latter’s proximity (demographic, geographical and cultural) with Madhesh have dragged India on the affair of Madhesh, which has off late gained momentum, creating a number of suspicion regarding the real intent of Nepal’s Southern neighbour.

The influx of the interests of Western countries inside Tarai under the cover of the activities of fringe NGOs – funded by Western INGOs or donor agencies – has prepared solid ground for the West to manoeuvre on Tarai. A Tarai-based activist educated from a reputed Western university and worked in the US-based weaponry manufacturing company Raytheon has made the West further enthusiastic to expand its influence on Madhesh. This competition in between the power centers to extend their respective influence on Tarai has unfortunately reduced the status of Kathmandu to a mere spectator.

Indian Interests
India’s role in Tarai often aroused suspicions in the Kathmandu whereas its interests and its influence on Tarai surpassed other friendlier countries of Nepal. Independent analysts following the Madhesh issue carefully and closely affirm that the Indian interests towards Nepal in general and Madhesh in particular is associated with its long prevailing lust to harness the hydro potential of Nepal. While restructuring state and adopting federal order, India wants Madhesh province to occupy landmass up to Baraha Chhetra of eastern Nepal so as to keep the affected area of the Saptakoshi Water Reservoir Project under the Madhesh province. Some analysts even go to the extent to stress that the slogan of “Single Madhesh Single Province” was in fact emanated from the Indian soil and the real intent behind this slogan is to tear up the southern flank of Nepal and to cede it into the Indian Union ultimately.

This “conspiracy theory” is not just based on hypothesis. Substantial evidence is found which makes even an ordinary man to suspect the long-term intention of India towards Nepal’s plains.

Former functionary of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) RK Yadav in his book “Mission RAW” has affirmed that after annexation of Sikkim on 26 April 1975, the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had passed orders to the intelligence agents to devise strategies to gobble Nepal’s Tarai region into the Indian union.

The immediate command of this “Split Nepal Operation” was assigned to the then founder and RAW chief Rameshwar Nath Kao. “However, merger of Tarai of Nepal was deferred in view of political turmoil in India when Indira Gandhi declared emergency in the country in June 1975 just after the merger of Sikkim with Indian Union…Unfortunately, when elections were held in 1977, Indira Gandhi was defeated as her party did not come to power and Kao’s operation of merging Tarai and other assignments did not materialize,” the book further reveals.

A section of Nepali population fears that this halted operation is revamped off by New Delhi soon after the ouster of monarchy in Nepal. To substantiate their fear, the adherer of this school of thought mention the Indian Consulate General of India in Birgung SD Mehata who had on May, 2014 tried to incite the Tarai leaders of Bara and Parsa districts from Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal to take to the streets and foment “a storm in Madhesh” for foiling the attempt of the CA to create five provinces in Tarai.

Message from Indian Military Establishment
The military establishment of India also is reverberating same message and the opinions emanating from the Indian military and security establishment has compelled the people of Nepal go beyond the sugar-coated words of the Indian diplomats and to think seriously about the real intent of India.

The book “The Unmaking of Nepal” which brought forth by the security establishment of India has blatantly challenged the territorial integrity of Nepal and tried to incite the people of Tarai to de-link themselves with Kathmandu and to join with the New Delhi eventually. It is to be noted that the author of this book, RSN Singh, is a former military intelligence officer of India who later served the RAW as a joint secretary. His book is published by the Lancer Publishers & Distributors affiliated to the India’s military establishment. The book is funded by Indian Army’s Center for Land Warfare Studies and the foreword of the book is written by retired Brigadier of Indian Army Gurmeet Kanwal. Previously, the author used to work on the intelligence department of the Indian Army.

The book asserts that a distinct socio-political fault line is developing along the East-West Highway, threatening the vertical split of Nepal. The book goes to the extent to argue that many Nepalese of Tarai region question the very concept of Nepal, as a nation-state (page 9-10) and tried to incite and dupe the Tarai people stressing that “there is not a single good reason for them to be part of Nepal (pg 18). The book even tries to convince the Indian establishment that not only Tarai, but whole Nepal can be ceded to India even by meagre effort like extending the Sixth Pay Commission to Nepal (pg 22).

Some years back, a leader from one of the Tarai-based parties had talked in detail with this pen pusher about the Tarai issues and had shared in detail about the unexpressed facet of the Madhesh movement. The leader had mentioned that the voice of secession is growing gradually in Madhesh and the Madhesh-based parties are trying their best to exert pressure on Kathmandu to develop all the essential infrastructures, including international airport and universities, in Madhesh for making it able to sustain, as and when the Madhesh cut off its entire relations with Kathmandu. The Madhesh-based leader had stressed that the parallel structure is being prepared in Madhesh in a calculated manner. The book “The Unmaking of Nepal” has confirmed the statement of this leader by quoting Ramchandra Jha, a former UML Leader who is now associated with the Unified Maoist, who revealed that there was a “proposal by the Maoists to have two parliaments – one for Madhesh and another for the hill.” (pg 13) This shows that not only some Tarai-based parties, but the Maoists also are working as a pawn of the Indian establishment to foment secession in this peaceful nation of a bygone era.

How to tackle the situation?
The voices of secession emanated from India are now being heard from Tarai and the situation has become further complicated after acquiring of dual citizenship certificates by the Indian was made easier by Nepal Citizenship Certificate Act (2006). The Act was promulgated by the reinstated parliament as a goodwill payment to India for facilitating the signing of 12-Point Agreements between the democratic forces and the then armed rebel CPN Maoist, which made the second people’s uprising bag success. Thus, unless this demographic influx is not checked, the problem of dual citizenship cannot be resolved and Tarai and Madheshi politics are not “purified,” the voice of “unmaking Nepal” and secession cannot be reduced. For this, no any option is left with Kathmandu then to deal with those who acquired dual citizenship certificates with the iron fist.

On the ongoing debate of the restructuring of the state, ferment voices are being heard from Tarai, and up to some extend from the eastern hills as well. This has made the analysts to recall as to what had happened in India during the state restructuring after it gained independence from the British colony on 1947?

The central government was forced to accept federal order based on language. Fearing that the devolution of political power on the linguist base may trigger unending chaos and even result the balkanization of the entire Indian Union, the government in New Delhi adopted a middle path wherein the status of federal state was not accorded to those areas and communities from where the ferment voice of secession was coming strongly. The center opposed tooth and nail not to give the status of State to the Nagaland, from where the voice of secession under the command of the armed rebel leader Angami Zapu Phizo has troubled New Delhi. The Khalistan movement in India had also posed threat to the territorial integrity of India, and thus statehood was not awarded to the Khalistan. Only after the armed personals from Sikh community exhibited their valor on India’s war with Pakistan, the Sikh people were provided separate province, Panjab on 1966, but only after ceding a big chunk of the landmass of the India’s Punjab in the province of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. However, the base of the formation of Punjab was not made language or religion, as desired by the activists of the Khalistani movement.

Based on this historical experience, Kathmandu should oppose tooth and nail not to allow the formation of Madhesh province on the southern flank of Nepal to thwart the secessionist voice and intent. While doing so, abundance care should be taken not to let the real son of soil from Tarai feel abandoned. The polarization that could be triggered by such a strong move of Kathmandu may stir the country temporarily. The Madhesh based parties, along with the Unified Maoists and the other so-called adherer of Singular Identity may resort to street thereby paralyzing the daily livelihood of the country and bringing down the national economy to the state of temporary halt. This could further polarize the country and the Kathmandu can garner overwhelming support of the patriotic nationalist thereby enabling it to tackle with the crisis strongly and with full confident.

The open border phenomenon with India may complicate the situation and the trans-border movement of the arms and hooligans may give violence turn to the movement in Tarai. The attempt of the Nepali security establishment to maintain law and order in Tarai may be fabricated as an act of ethnic cleansing by the Indian and Western media. This extreme situation will further heighten polarization on international front as well. Nepal still deserves strength to tackle with this crisis, along with the subtle backing of China and other friendlier nations.

Even India and the West cannot afford to push Nepal to the wall, amidst the geo-strategic location of this region which has enabled Nepal to exist as separate political entity for the last 2500 years.

The writer is a Kathmandu-based journalist associated with the Naya Patrika National Daily. He can be reached at sujitmainali@gmail.com

Courtesy: People’s Review Weekly

 

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2 thoughts on “‘Unmaking Nepal’ through Madhesh!

  1. I strongly admire your writing, hereby, bringing the ground reality of Nepal. We cannot afford to get tangled in the conspiracy as set by Indhira Gandhi, RAW and the Western countries to make Nepal permanently unstable and hence fulfill its hidden military deeds. I , therefore, insist all the patriotic Nepalese to realize the conspiracy thus created and get out of it.

  2. Opinion of writer on fabrication of ” Ethnic Cleansing ” is very correct. Western and UN funded, western educated so-called intellects are regularly producing and fabricating incidents.

    Quite recently I got a report by THIRD Alliance working on Terai. They had reported that in Gaur and Bara, government was shifting several government offices, namely, Land Administration and Survey Offices. I wrote him personally to correct, that was expansion of facility through service units not shifting of the offices.

    I requested him to copy all recipients so that they they understand the correction as well. I gave copy to the Chief Secretary. To my surprise, the publisher answered Chief Secretary Mr. Lilamani that at the past Forest Offices were transferred. And to my extreme surprise I have not yet received any further response from the Chief Secretary.

    The report of Thrd Alliance were quoted by UN HR Committee during ICCPR hearing. Whole west and India are feeling insecure with opening of northern border and connecting with Chinese railway. I guess Mr. Modi alone had expressed his willingness to connect Nepal for better business ties with south Asian markets (including China, I believe).

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