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Stop bullying Nepal, CPI-M tells Modi government

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New Delhi: The CPI-M on Thursday urged the Indian government to stop bullying Nepal and to end the blockades on the border that have caused widespread shortages in that country.

“The (Narendra) Modi government should stop this bullying policy,” said an editorial in “People’s Democracy”, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

“It should immediately take steps to clear the obstructions in the border crossings in consultation with the Nepali government,” it added.

The editorial said New Delhi’s confrontationist policy towards Nepal — following protests by Madhesi groups against Kathmandu’s new constitution — “has led to an unprecedented breach in India-Nepal relations.

“After adopting a negative attitude to the constitution promulgated in Nepal on September 20, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government has gone ahead with further exacerbating tensions,” the CPI-M said.

It said that for over two months, all the transit routes to Nepal from India had been blockaded.

Landlocked Nepal depends on the land routes through India for the supply of all essential commodities and trade.

“The Madhesi agitation, which is backed by the Modi government, has blockaded Raxaul-Birgunj crossing and some other routes. This has led to a severe shortage of fuel and other essential commodities.

“The people are also suffering since the reconstruction work after the devastating earthquake has been affected. Vehicles are not able to carry construction materials for putting up prefabricated housing before winter sets in.

“The fuel shortages are affecting helicopter movement which is needed for delivering supplies to mountainous areas.”

It said New Delhi’s stand that it had nothing to do with the blockade and that this was because of the Madhesi agitation and the insecurity faced by Indian transporters did not wash.

“In fact it is reported that India has unofficially sealed the border even in eastern Nepal where there are no protests.”

The CPI-M said the Modi government was making no bones about its support for the Madhesi agitation, and Madhesi groups were openly claiming support of India.

“A delegation of Madhesi leaders visited Delhi to hold consultations in the last week of October. This is a flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Nepal.”

It said India’s “arrogant stance” amounted to “pointing a gun to the head and asking Nepal to accede to the Indian-backed Madhesi demand”.

The editorial said the undeclared blockade by New Delhi had aroused strong feelings in Nepal, and popular anger against India was running high.

“The Modi government’s attitude … is an outcome of the Modi government’s projection of India as a big power in the region and national chauvinism.

“The RSS-BJP combine was affronted by the decision of the Nepal Constituent Assembly to declare Nepal a secular republic.

“Modi and the BJP were also willing to harm relations with Nepal for the sake of winning support of the Madhesis who have a substantial transborder presence in the neighbouring areas of Bihar, keeping in mind the assembly elections there.”

The CPI-M said the problems of Madhesis and ‘janjatis’ should be amicably resolved by political process within Nepal, and the Indian government must use its influence with Madhesis to see that negotiations take place.

(IANS)

 

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Fear of Leprosy Resurgence in Nepal

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper

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Leprosy, Wikimedia

Health officials in Nepal fear leprosy resurgence in the country with prevalence rate reaching 0.94 per cent in 2018.

Leprosy-free status was given to the Himalayan nation after it declared elimination of the disease in 2009. However, that status could be lost if prevalence rate reaches one per cent of total population, Kathmandu Post reported on Thursday.

Experts already fear that this marks the resurgence of the disease in Nepal. The percentage could be more, an official said, as the current given figures have been derived just from preliminary data.

The Leprosy Control and Disability (LCD) section of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Department of Health Services said that the prevalence rate was 0.92 and 0.89 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, the news report said.

“It will be a great setback for the country if it loses the status,” said Rabindra Baskota, a doctor and chief of the LCD section.

Incubation period of leprosy varies from one to 20 years and diagnosis of more patients could help stop the further spread of the disease, according to him.

An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital. Kolkata. VOA

“It will take only a couple of years to reach one percent if this upward trend continues,” he added.

The prevalence rate is over one per cent in various districts of the Tarai region, Baskota said, adding that the country had received the leprosy eliminated status, after reducing its prevalence rate by 0.77 per cent, in 2009.

Sishir Silwal, a focal person for the leprosy control programme in Gulmi district, said regular review meetings for leprosy, which should be held every four months, has not been held for the last eight months.

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Kathmandu Post quoted Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at EDCD, as saying that there is a severe crunch in manpower that hinders proper functioning.

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper.

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is transmitted through nasal secretion or from droplets from the mouth. It affects the skin, peripheral nerves and eyes, leading to disfigurement and nerve damage. The disease is curable with a multi-drug therapy. (IANS)