Hardline Nepal Maoists obstruct Indian envoy's programme
Opposing direct Indian investment in Nepal's small development projects, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), a hardline Left entity led by Mohan Baidhya aka Kiran, Friday called a strike in Chitwan district and tried to obstruct a programme of India's ambassador to Nepal.
Ambassador Ranjit Rae was in Chitwan district to inaugurate a college that was built with Indian assistance. With a grant of Rs.20 million from India, the infrastructure project was completed within five years.
To stop Rae from inaugurating the college building, the Maoists called a bandh in the district, protesting direct Indian investment in small development projects.
Only India enjoys such facilities in Nepal where the embassy can directly distribute funds up to Rs.30 million for such small projects.
The Indian envoy had reached the district Thursday to inaugurate the college building.
According to Shanti Raj Koirala, superintendent of Nepal Police in Chitwan district, over a dozen Maoist cadres were arrested from various parts of the district for trying to enforce the bandh.
The Maoist party has demanded that the campus building should be inaugurated by Nepali officials and not the Indian envoy and the Nepal government should stop providing "extra-diplomatic privileges to India in the name of economic assistance".
Any investment should come through government channels and such projects should be inaugurated by the Nepal government, not the Indian envoy, Gun Raj Lohani, Chitwan district chief of the CPN-M, told media persons.
The Maoists lifted the strike after the ambassador's function ended thus allowing vehicular movement to resume.
The Maoist party has been repeatedly voicing anti-India sentiments in Nepal, opposing the bilateral power and energy deal and direct Indian grants for various small development projects in Nepal.
(Anil Giri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 29-08-2014)