Dr. Manamohan Singh
Right Honorable Prime Minister of India
Room No. 148 B South Block
New Delhi 110001, India
June 15, 2009
RE: Border encroachment and human rights violation by Indian security authorities in Nepal
Dear Prime Minister:
As global citizens and citizens and friends of Nepal, we are deeply saddened by the recent actions of the Indian Border Security Forces (IBSF) on Nepali territory. The encroachment on Nepali lands and the atrocities committed against Nepalese citizens is a violation of international law and human rights, and constitutes an attack on Nepal’s sovereignty. With this encroachment our great hope, which is to see India’s foreign policy demonstrate mutual respect and trust, is dashed. The Indian establishment has once again failed to grasp the fact that such folly imposes huge cost to both India and Nepal.
Still, Mr. Prime Minister, you have a choice and you can make the difference.
In May of 2009, the IBSF encroached on Nepali lands and committed atrocities along the border villages of western district of Dang. Two separate delegations of the Constituent Assembly and legislature parliament investigated and reached that conclusion unanimously. These actions resulted in the displacement of more than 6000 people from their homes. Cases of rape and disappearance have also been reported. This is not the first time the IBSF has encroached on Nepali territory and committed atrocities: from Jhapa in the east all the way to Darchula in the west (where the Indian military has even set up a permanent base), the pattern of border encroachment is repeated, with forceful displacement, shifting of border markers and appropriation of territory. India has already appropriated some 59,970 hectares of Nepali territory at 54 points in 21 districts. All these cases are well documented, but India has not shown any sign of taking responsibility of its excesses in a foreign land.
This is not the only example of India’s interference in Nepal’s sovereignty. Recently the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Mr. Sood, interfered in the choice of Nepal’s Commander-in-Chief. By doing so, he has made it clear that Nepalese right to choose their government remains a right as long as their choice does not contradict with India’s vested interest in Nepal. Mr. Prime Minister, we believe that you understand that the love for motherland and quest for justice does not depend on the size of a country. No matter how small Nepal is compared to India, our love for Nepal and its independence is equal to the love any Indian feels for his motherland.
People from Nepal and India have very cordial relations; they respect and admire each other. They share many common attributes. Our former prime ministers Manmohan Adhikari and B P Koirala were active participants of your national liberation movement. Nepali people in the Indian Army have helped safeguard Indian territory in both the Sino-Indian war and the Indian-Pakistan war. Reciprocally, Indian people have always supported democratic movements in Nepal. The irony is that Indian foreign policy towards Nepal has shown itself over time to be unfair, unjust and vicious.
Nepalese and Friends of Nepal have been hopeful that you, Mr. Prime Minister, would be able to change the “Big Brother” nature of India’s policy in Nepal into one that stands on a firm foundation of mutual respect and trust. These hopes are fading fast. You have the opportunity to make India a great nation by basing India’s foreign policy as it was conceived by former prime minister I. K. Gujral as the Gujral Doctrine. This is time for Indian foreign policymaking be taken out of the hands of bureaucrats still living in the shadow of colonialism.
Change is long overdue. As a first step, we Nepalese, Friends of Nepal and peace loving people around the globe urge you to correct the present aggression immediately, bring the IBSE home to their barracks in India, apologize to those Nepalese who have been the victims of a barbaric act, and compensate those whose property has been destroyed.
Progressive Nepali Forum in Americas
Tel: (604) 506 9259, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org