Nepalese FM radio stations start giving weather bulletins of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura
After Nepal’s parliament endorsed the political map that shows the disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of its territory earlier this month, some Nepalese FM radio stations close to India-Nepal border in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh have started giving weather bulletins of these three areas.
These FM radio stations are located in Darchula district of Nepal and can be heard in the bordering areas of Dharchula, Baluakot, Jauljibi and Kalika towns on the Indian side in Pithoragarh, according to locals.
Krishna Garbiyal, a prominent leader of the Rung community in Dharchula said these Nepalese FM stations have started giving information on weather reports of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura considering these areas as their own territories, like India, did recently with PoK.
In the first week of May, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had started including cities like Muzaffarabad and Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in its weather forecasts, stating PoK was part of India.
Locals living in the bordering areas, especially in Dharchula, said that Nepalese FM channels have unleashed propaganda in between songs by including speeches of Nepali politicians and leaders regarding these areas belonging to Nepal.
People in Dharchula confirmed that after India inaugurated the road till Lipulekh Pass - the traditional trading route with Tibet - Nepalese FM channels have started playing speeches in between Nepalese songs.
“As Nepalese songs are listened by villagers on both sides of the border, these anti-India speeches, delivered by Nepalese leaders from time to time affect the psyche of people living on both sides of the border and are fuelling seeds of disharmony in the relations between the people on the two sides,” said Shalu Dayal, a resident of Dantu village of Dharchula.
Dayal claimed that besides some of these FM stations playing anti-India speeches in between Nepalese songs, some old FM channels and websites on the Nepalese side were also highlighting reports of Kalapani being part of Nepal.
Ashok Nabiyal, a social activist from Dharchula’s Vyans Valley said Indian intelligence agencies active at India-Nepal border need to take cognisance of this propaganda so as to counter these anti- India speeches in these bordering areas. “Nepalese propaganda is clearly aimed at influencing locals on this side of the border and strengthening their claims, but our authorities are yet to take any pro-active measure to counter this propaganda and misinformation,” he said.
The local authorities in the district said they are yet to get information about these developments
“We do not have any such information neither our intelligence units have given us any feedback on this issue,” said Preeti Priya Darshani, superintendent of police (SP) Pithoragarh.
Dharchula circle officer VK Acharya said, “none of our intelligence units have given us any information regarding anti-India propaganda in Dharchula’s bordering areas recently”.
Nepal claiming Indian territories in its map has disturbed traditional relations between people of Nepal and Uttarakhand in the bordering regions of the state. Locals, officials and experts have rubbished the Nepalese claim. Even as there have been good relations between the Nepalese and the people living in border areas on this side, Nepal’s recent claims have not gone well with the people.
Nrip Singh Napachayal, former Uttarakhand chief secretary, who hails from Pithoragarh’s Rung community said Nepal has erroneously shown Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as their territory and was unleashing misinformation through its communication mediums.
“These actions of Nepalese have disturbed the traditional relations between the people on the two sides, which have much in common linguistically and culturally. Traditionally and historically, Kalapani has always been venerated as a sacred source of Kali river, while river Mangti has always been regarded as the sacred river of the tribal community living here,” he said.
The Kali River originates at Kalapani at an altitude of 3,600 metres and flows southwards. Named after Goddess Kali, whose temple is situated in Kalapani area near the Lipulekh pass at the border between India and China, the river’s upper course forms India’s continuous eastern boundary with Nepal.
“Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura are part of the Indian border with China and they have no relation with Nepal border. Lipulekh Pass has served as the entrance of Indian traders and Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims, which has never been objected by any ruler of Nepal till now. These claims are surprising and can vitiate the harmony between the people on two sides of the border who have been living in this region for thousands of years in peace and harmony,” he said.
Uttarakhand’s noted historian Ajay Singh Rawat said historically Indian tribal people of Vyans valley have been doing trade with Tibet from Lipulekh pass from 6th century.
“There is no evidence when Nepalese traders have carried out the trade from Lipulekh pass. The Kailash Mansarovar yatra by Indian pilgrims has also been going on traditionally from the same pass from centuries without any objection from the rulers of Nepal,” said Rawat.
“Even the British travellers to Tibet before independence and Indian scholars on Kailash Mansarovar have pointed out Kalapani as the origin of river Kali also called Mahakali in Nepal and Sharda in Pithoragarh. “Charles A Sheering, British traveller and administrator, who visited Tibet in 1905, has written in his book that Kalapani is considered as the original source of Kali river... there are more than half a dozen small springs which all combine and form the source of River Kali,” said Rawat.
Citing historical records, Dr Rawat said that immediately after the Sugauli Treaty, landlords of Vyans valley in the present Dharchula area had moved an application in the court of the then commissioner of Kumaon in March 1817, saying that after the treaty only two villages - Tinkar and Changru - had gone to Nepal side while 6 other villages of the valley had remained within the Indian territory. “Since then, all 6 villages are within the Indian territory,” said Rawat.
On June 18, Nepal’s parliament passed a constitutional amendment under which it unanimously voted to endorse the new political map issued last month that shows the disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepal. The border row escalated last month after India opened an 80-kilometre-long road to Lipulekh on the border with the Tibet Autonomous Region to facilitate pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar. The Indian side maintains that Nepal’s shifting claims are contrary to the Treaty of Sugauli signed in 1815 by Nepal and the British.
The Treaty of Sugauli between the British and Nepal was signed in December 1815 and ratified in March 1816. It defined river Kali as the western border of Nepal. India asserts that the river begins in Kalapani as this is where all its tributaries merge, but Nepal claims that the river begins from Lipulekh Pass.