Days before Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli’s controversial remarks claiming Indian regions of Lipulekh and Kalapani as parts of Nepal, several politically motivated communist Nepalis had reportedly marched towards Lipulekh with the aim of hoisting Nepal’s flag there. However, they were met with stiff resistance from the local Nepali residents who sabotaged their plans of planting a Nepali flag in the Indian region.
As per a report in News 18, on 18 May, supporters of Netra Chand Viplav Party of Nepal took out a march for hoisting Nepal’s flag in Lipulekh. The intention behind unfurling the flag in an Indian territory was to assert that Lipulekh belonged to Nepal. However, the Nepali locals from the bordering villages did not allow the communist to carry out their agenda. Chasing out the communist protesters, the locals claimed that they would not let the personal interest of some to affect the relationship with India, an ally with whom they share a relationship of bread and butter.
When the team of communist protesters reached Dumling village, the residents of the village reportedly advised them to go back. But, the group remained stubborn in its resolve of unfurling Nepal’s flag in Lipulekh, due to which clashes broke out between the villagers and the communist protesters. Eventually, all the members of the party were forced to submit to villagers’ insistence and return. The leader of the party, Jeevan Bisht, accused the villagers of attacking them, claiming that the locals attacked the members of his party with sticks.
The people of Dumling village believe that the friendly relations between India and Nepal existed for centuries and visits like the one made by the protesters could have caused bitterness in the relationship and vitiated the camaraderie shared between the Indians and Nepalis. They suspected that such brinkmanship would have an adverse impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people living along the border and therefore they halted the Nepali protesters from continuing their march towards the Indian region of Lipulekh.
Nepali PM KP Oli echoes China in making expansionist claims against India
Perhaps acting at the behest of China, the communist government in Nepal threw open a can of worms when it made claims on the Indian territories of Lipulekh and Kalapani as parts of Nepal. In a new map released by Nepal, it showed the aforementioned regions under the jurisdiction of Nepal.
KP Oli also made expansionist claims in a speech in the parliament where he asserted that Nepal would “bring back at any cost” the Indian territories of Kalapani-Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh area. Nepal’s newfound belligerence against India partly stems from Beijing, which considers New Delhi as a threat to its global ambitions. Many attribute Nepal’s bellicosity against India to China who is rapidly expanding its footprint in the communist-ruled Kathmandu.
It is also worth noting that Nepal’s defiance against India has come 10 days after the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a link road on the Kailash Mansarovar route in Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, leading to Lipulekh.
The foreign ministry of Nepal had issued a press release voicing their protest against the move, claiming the link road passed through Nepali territory. However, India rejected the claims, saying “the link road lies completely within the territory of India”.