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.