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Nepal bars Indian media

The media has been barred from press briefings barring the Nepal1 TV channel, which is run by an Indian journalist.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 18:05 IST

The Indian media has been barred from press briefings by Nepal's home minister.

The minister has been using the occasions to accuse New Delhi of abetting the Maoists and turning a blind eye to their arms smuggling across the open border.

Hardliner Kamal Thapa was nominated home minister by King Gyanendra last year in return for his support for the controversial local election held last month.

Thapa has screened out the Indian media from his press briefings in Kathmandu.

Thapa has used the media briefings to allege that the Indian government was sheltering Maoists and allowing them to bring huge caches of arms and explosives into Nepal from India.

Recently, he alleged that the communist insurgents had been trying to smuggle in explosives directly from Indian factories in trucks bearing Indian number plates.

Though Thapa said the matter would be taken up with the Indian government, the Nepal government is yet to make any official representation to New Delhi.

Nepal's media, especially the state-run agencies, have been giving full play to the minister's India-bashing, without questioning the authenticity of his information or his sources.

The Indian media in Nepal, known for questioning such allegations, has been barred from the briefings.

The only Indian media allowed is the Nepal1 TV channel run by Indian media celebrity Nalini Singh's TV Live company that was reined in by the Nepal government last year.

The channel was kept off the air several months for reporting a Maoist ambush.

Though according to an agreement between India and Nepal, both are to treat each other's citizens on par, Nepal has been deviating from the pact, especially in the media sector.

Indian citizens representing the Indian media have to pay an accreditation fee that is nearly 30 times that of the nominal fee levied on Nepalis.

First Published: Mar 14, 2006 15:06 IST