Hundreds of protesters blocked a major trading checkpoint between India and Nepal Friday, cutting off vital supplies to the landlocked Himalayan nation, as anger deepened over the country’s new constitution.
In a move unusual in Indo-Nepal ties, Ambassador Ranjit Rae was summoned by Nepal’s foreign ministry and asked whether India had imposed any restriction on cargo supply to Nepal.
Hundreds of trucks loaded with cooking gas cylinders, essential goods, and petroleum products were stalled at the Nepal-India border due to the protests.
A day after the new constitution was promulgated in Nepal, an upset New Delhi sent out a veiled threat to Kathmandu, subtly hinting that it might have to suspend supplies to the neighbouring country if the unrest continued.
Image copyright AP Image caption Nepalese police in Birgunj run for cover, chased by protesters. The area is almost 300 kilometers (200 miles) east of Kathmandu, the capital.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and senior leader of ruling CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal slammed India for “immature and irresponsible” reaction after the promulgation of the new Constitution on Sunday. He said the obstruction was caused by the protests in Nepal’s Tarai/Madhes region.
Nepal’s prime minister has cancelled plans to attend a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, his spokesman said, in order to hold talks to end weeks of protests against a new constitution that have killed more than 40 people. “Issues of differences should be resolved and institutionalized with broad-based ownership and acceptance”, the Spokesperson in the MEA said.
Earlier this week, the ministry had issued a statement saying Indian freight forwarders and transporters had voiced complaints about the difficulties they are facing in movement within Nepal and their security fears due to the prevailing unrest.
India says that the aspirations of the disgruntled groups from the southern plains bordering India have not been met, and that the troubles might flare up violence spilling into India, where a large number of Nepalese nationals work.