Pillars erected by Nepalese citizens in no-man’s land at India-Nepal border not yet removed
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) officials deployed at the border held a meeting with Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) after asking the Nepalese locals to remove the pillars. During the meeting, APF officials had assured the SSB officials that the pillars would be removed soon.
Pillars erected by Nepalese men for fencing a no-man’s land at the India-Nepal border have not been removed despite assurances by Nepal authorities to their Indian counterparts, officials said on Sunday.
Some Nepalese people erected concrete and wooden pillars on Wednesday on the no-man’s land and in about 10 metres of the area into the Indian side near Tanakpur town in Uttarakhand’s Champawat district, the officials said.
Following the development, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) officials deployed at the border held a meeting with Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) after asking the Nepalese locals to remove the pillars. During the meeting, APF officials had assured the SSB officials that the pillars would be removed soon.
“ APF officials had assured us that the pillars would soon be removed but nothing has happened so far. In fact, the locals have now put fencing on the pillars erected by them,” said an SSB officer on the condition of anonymity.
“The locals had erected 23 pillars in the area in India’s territory. After erecting the fencing, they have now planted some saplings there to further consolidate their claim on the disputed area.”
SSB officials suspect a ‘bigger conspiracy’ behind the act of Nepalese locals. They said patrolling has been stepped up in the area.
“This is certainly done with the backing of their administration and police. Without that, they will never dare carry out such an act. We have also got inputs that the Nepalese locals got funds from their administration for the fencing. This was also corroborated by a Nepalese local present on Thursday who was involved in erecting the pillars,” the SSB officer said.
Another local administration official too corroborated the SSB official’s claim. “Nepalese authorities seem not to be serious about removing the encroachment. This was also evident from the fact that on Thursday during the heated argument with the Nepalese locals, they were putting fencing in front of APF personnel,” the official said.
“Many of the Nepalese locals were also in an inebriated condition and abusing Indian officials during the meeting while raising anti-India slogans before the APF personnel. This shows that the APF and Nepal local administration are hands in glove with them,” said the official.
He also informed that the dispute over the no-man’s land is prevailing because there is no clear demarcation of the India-Nepal border.
“The demarcation would be done after a joint survey of the border by the Survey of India (SoI) and Survey of Nepal (SoN). A team of SoI had even come here last year for the survey and stayed for about two months. But the survey was not done because SoN officials didn’t show any interest and kept on dilly-dallying on the matter for some reason or the other. There seems to be a lack of sincerity on the part of SoN on completing the survey work of the border,” he said.
Meanwhile, there were some media reports that the ongoing border tension escalated after some Nepalese locals hurled stones at a patrolling team of SSB near the border. However, the SSB officers denied any such incident.
RK Tripathi, SSB commandant, said, “No such incident has happened at the border. The reports are absolutely rubbish.”
“Talks are already on between the two sides on the removal of the encroachment which we hope will soon be removed as per the assurances of Nepalese authorities,” he said.
Meanwhile district magistrate(DM) of Champawat Surendra Narayan Pandey registered a ‘strong’ protest on the issue before chief district officer (equivalent to DM) of Nepal’s Kanchanpur district which adjoins Champawat across the border. He also apprised the Indian Embassy in Nepal of the issue.
“Taking up the matter I wrote a letter to Kanchanpur’s CDO and spoke to him over phone to register a strong protest on the act by Nepalese people on Saturday. I have asked him to remove the encroachments from the disputed area and follow the international border protocol,” said Pandey.
He informed that following his protest, the Kanchanpur CDO and superintendent of police on Sunday visited the disputed area on their side.
“While speaking to the CDO, I also requested him for a meeting at district administration level on which he said that he would reply on Monday after Sunday’s visit. I have also apprised our Embassy officials in Nepal about the issue on July 24 and the Uttarakhand state government to take up the matter with the Home Ministry,” said Pandey.
He said that he has also urged his Nepalese counterpart to initiate a survey process of the border and restore the missing border pillar number 811/3 due to which the ‘demarcation of the border is not done yet.’
“This issue has to be resolved at administration level because if it is left to the public then it may turn into an ugly episode in coming days,” said Pandey.