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Nepalese want treaty with India revised

world Updated: Jul 03, 2007 02:12 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times
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Fifty-seven years after signing the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty, people in the Himalayan nation still find the agreement "lopsided" and demand its revision.

The Treaty, signed on July 31, 1950, had agreed to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals the same privileges on matters of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, and many other privileges.

Like the Maoists, many people here believe that Jawaharlal Nehru had "compelled" then Nepalese Prime Minister Minister Mohan Shumsher Rana to sign the friendship treaty, which has been "unequal" for almost six decades.

"It has been long (the case) that the Rana oligarchy has collapsed but the 'unequal treaty' remains a sore for the entire population of Nepal," Ranjan Adhikari, a teacher at Bandipur in Nepal's Tanahun district, said.

Growing anti-India feeling across Nepal is primarily based on the sensation that New Delhi has always been trying to control the corridors of power in Kathmandu.

"It (India) is trying to make Nepal follow the footsteps of Sikkim," Tanka Bahadur a taxi driver in Kathmandu, said, adding that the people of Nepal, unlike in Sikkim, were never keen to join the Indian union.

Senior journalist Gunarata Leutiel said it was unfortunate that during the last six decades the Himalayan nation has become too dependent on the southern neighbour.

"The treaty is old and needs to be restructured," he said.

Leutiel, who is also the news editor of Kantipur, the largest-selling Nepali daily, said as a sovereign nation, Nepal should now have the independent right to buy arms from whichever country it chooses.

In addition to the Maoists and Communist Party of Nepal (UML), the other political parties in Nepal are also keen to review the accord.
Leaders of both the parties have been raising the issue on a regular interval.

"Keeping in view the popular demand, we also feel that South Block should now understand that the amendment of the treaty is the need of the hour," Gopal Man Singh Shrestha, vice-president of Nepali Congress (Democratic), said.

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