ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nepal: Multiple Interests


It took four days of rioting, denials, police firing, diplomatic interventions at the highest level between India and Nepal before the crisis ignited over the alleged remarks, derogatory to Nepal, made by an Indian movie star finally bubbled over. In the end, it left a lot of red faces; Nepal earned itself the dubious sobriquet of 'rumour capital'; a commission has been set up to inquire into the riots; but a week and more after, explanations of what sparked it all off remain nebulous.

It all began on December 15 with a 'news item' tucked away in the pages of a little-known local language daily. Ten days later, students first rioted in the town of Biratnagar, close to the border with Bihar, and the trouble spread like wildfire to other towns, including Kathmandu. What began as an expression of anger against the alleged derogatory remarks of the Indian actor turned overnight into a violent protest against everything Indian. The protests were no doubt fuelled by pent-up frustration with the domestic political establishment in Kathmandu and found fertile ground among the fissures within sections of the Nepalese population. The people of the terai, for instance, were targeted by the hills people, as the former are seen as migrants from India generations back. Offices of the Sadhbhavna Party, representing terai interests, were singled out for attack.

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