By Babita Silwal (KATHMANDU, 16 March 2017) – Nepal saw upheavals last week when India’s Seema Surakshya Bal (SSB) opened fire and shot dead a Nepali national, Govinda Gautam in a border dispute at Kanchanpur district. The incident not only had repercussions at the local level, it led to spontaneous protests against India with the Nepalese government merely passing a ‘diplomatic note’ to the Indian Government through the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.
The incident was an emotional affair at the people’s level, a diplomatic issue at the government’s level that needed discretion and maturity to deal with. Above that, it was an issue of prestige, dignity and sovereignty. But ironically, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh played down the entire episode terming it as “regrettable” as if there was nothing to be taken seriously. Indian Home Minister Singh’s reaction came only when Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi on Thursday drew his attention on the issue during his visit to India.
Meanwhile, at a time when the entire country was mourning the death of a Nepali youth, the Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN-Maoist added woes to the people by imposing a nationwide bandh the next day. In addition, cadres of the party exhibited heinous act by setting a passenger bus belonging to Sajha Yatayat on fire in Balaju. The concern to relate this incident is to equate the emotional attitude expressed by both the Chand-led CPN-Maoist and Indian Home Minister.
While the Maoists burnt a passenger bus in response to the Indian cruelty, a responsible personality of a neighboring country tried to downplay the incident by terming it as “regrettable”. It would have been palliative had the Maoist cadres joined Gautam’s family and friends to share their pain rather than destroying public property. On the other hand, it would have been judicious had the Indian side announced compensation to the victim’s family and sought apology to the Nepalese people for the act rather than issuing a statement of denial, which the Embassy of India did.
Now that, while the Indian side needs to work in tandem with the Nepalese side and express commitment of not repeating such mistakes in the future and stop showing big-brotherly attitude towards Nepal, the Maoist should demonstrate responsible behavior by discarding all their inhuman acts.