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Omnipresent South Block hand

As a neighbour, and a big one at that, India is a frequent topic of conversation for many in Nepal. Understandable both countries share many similarities — religion, culture, language and, to a certain extent, history, reports Utpal Parashar.

world Updated: Mar 21, 2010 23:09 IST
Utpal Parashar

As a neighbour, and a big one at that, India is a frequent topic of conversation for many in Nepal. Understandable both countries share many similarities — religion, culture, language and, to a certain extent, history.

But it becomes a pain when people try to find an India connection to most things happening in the Himalayan nation — and often it’s related to the problems plaguing the country.

So when a Nepali media entrepreneur with a dubious past gets killed on Kathmandu’s streets allegedly under instructions from an Indian underworld don — New Delhi was blamed.

A teacher hinted as much when discussing the crime. And the country’s information minister went a step further stating that the uneasy relationship between India and Pakistan has led to killings of Muslims in Nepal — the entrepreneur was a Muslim with Kashmiri roots.

Politics is another area where South Block’s alleged interference is frequently hinted at. A Bangladeshi diplomat once asked me if Nepal’s southern neighbour will allow the peace and constitution drafting process in Nepal reach its logical end.

India has meddled in Nepal’s politics since the 1950s. But to blame it for all ills in Nepal is an exaggeration.

Many leaders from Nepali Congress blame South Block for the birth of several Madheshi parties in the country’s Terai plains.

“India should understand that all those living in the plains are not its friends and all those residing in the hills, its enemies. It should change its policy and stop weakening our party,” said a senior Nepali Congress leader.

Maoist leader and former PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has accused India of forming and toppling governments in Nepal.

Incidentally, such allegations are rarely made against China; this despite several good works — financial assistance, construction of schools and roads, supply of food grains at subsidised rates — done by India in that country.