A border row triggered two years ago by the construction of a culvert in Ananda Bazar in the south-western district of Kanchanpur remains unresolved. Although a government survey team has been to the area a number of times, the dispute is far from over. As a result, locals have not been able to farm the land.
Hari Adhikari, a local, says that even though they have knocked on the doors of various government bodies—local, provincial and federal—there has been no initiative to resolve the dispute. Moreover, India has closed the road, claiming that the area is disputed. So locals are compelled to use an alternate road.
A local says that India wrongly considers a Simal tree near the culvert to be a border pillar
Govinda Gautam lost his life when he was struck by the bullets fired by the Indian Sashastra Seema Bal (Armed Border Force) in Ananda Bazar on 10 March 2017.
Lok Bahadur Khadka, a local, says that India wrongly considers a Simal tree near the culvert to be a border pillar. “Nepali territory extends 500 meters to the south from that Simal tree,” he claims. Temporary police camps were set up by both Nepal and India after the border row broke out.
Promise not fulfilled
It has been two years since the government expressed a commitment to take action against the Indian security personnel accused of shooting Gautam. But it hasn’t even fulfilled various promises it made to Gautam’s family, let alone taken steps to punish the guilty.
Gautam’s family has received Rs 1 million from the government but other promises remain unfulfilled. The government had promised free education for Gautam’s daughters and a job for his wife, and various other bodies had promised sundry other things for the family, but none of them have been kept. “All we have received is promises and flowers,” laments Gautam’s father Khem Lal Gautam.
A memorial service was held on Sunday, March 10 in Ananda Bazar to mark the third anniversary of Gautam’s death. On the occasion, Krishna Raj Subedi, Minister for Social Development in the Far-western provincial government, made an announcement that a statue of Gautam will be constructed in his memory. Subedi remarked that the provincial government is ever ready to protect border residents, whom he called “ununiformed border troops”.
Similarly, Tara Lama Tamang, a provincial assembly member and Nepal Communist Party leader, demanded that a martyr park be built in Gautam’s memory.
Jeevan Raj Thapa, the head of the municipality, presented Gautam’s parents with cash and shawls as a token of appreciation. He also pledged an annual sum of Rs 10,000 for each of Gautam’s three daughters.