#BackOffIndia! Nepal protesters slam ‘interference’ over statute

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2015 13:37 IST
Supporters of opposition parties burn papers symbolizing Nepal’s first democratic constitution during a protest against the constitution, in Kathmandu, Nepal. (reuters)

India’s reaction to the new Constitution promulgated by Nepal hasn’t gone down well with thousands of people, who are using #BackOffIndia on social media to accuse New Delhi of interfering in the country’s internal matters.

The hashtag became one of the major trends on Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday.

“Modiji, your sympathy, support and suggestion are always welcome but stop your unnecessary interference in Nepal’s sovereignty,” tweeted Suchana Ghimire.

Many tweets described India’s statements calling for wider consultations on the new Constitution as an instance of interference in Nepal’s internal affairs. By noon on Tuesday, the hashtag had garnered more than 50,000 tweets.

The outpouring of anger against New Delhi came after India expressed concern at violence in areas of Nepal along its border and urged major political parties to address the issue.

Madhesis and Tharus living in the Terai areas bordering India have been protesting against the new Constitution and violence in the region has claimed more than 40 lives.

A statement issued on Monday by India’s foreign ministry that cited problems faced by Indian freight companies due to the violence led some Nepalese to presume that New Delhi might prevent the movement of goods across the border.

Land-locked Nepal relies on India for its key imports, including fuel, and any disruption of supplies could prove disastrous. Experts in Nepal too expressed surprise at India’s reactions.

“I was slightly taken aback by India’s statements. I can understand India’s concerns but they shouldn’t be seen as encouraging protesting parties,” said Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, a former envoy to India.

Another former Nepali ambassador to India, Lok Raj Baral, felt India’s reaction could hurt the positive impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two successful visits to Nepal last year.

Five months ago, the hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia had become a top trend on Twitter as thousands of Nepalis reacted to the “insensitive” coverage by Indian television channels of the aftermath of the devastating April earthquake.

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