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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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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)