EDITORIAL: For restraint

Given the age-old Nepal-India relations both the sides must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other

The killing of Govinda Gautam,30, a Nepali citizen from Ananda Bazaar of Punarbas Municipality-8 in Kanchanpur district Thursday in a firing by the Seema Surakshya Bal (SSB) personnel of India is very serious and disturbing.

Nepal has protested the incident at the Nepal-India border, and this should be thoroughly probed.

The tragic incident comes at a time when the two closest neighbours are trying to improve the bilateral ties that were at the lowest ebb during the five-month blockade imposed on Nepal after the new Constitution was adopted in September 2015.

While one singular incident may not make or break the ties between the two traditionally close, friendly countries, such tragedies tend to be etched on the Nepali hearts and minds for a long time to come. Now that the incident has happened both Nepal and India must make visible efforts to heal the wounds.

Nepal government has declared Gautam a martyr and his funeral was held with state honours with a 11 gun salute paid by the Nepal Police. Our sympathies lie with the family and the near and dear ones of the bereaved. Resolving the present dispute should be done together with the necessary steps taken at the highest level so that no such incidents take place in the future.

The Government of India, government and political parties at home are expected to take steps to heal the wounds. The situation now demands that all means possible be taken including diplomatic channels.

The Indian officials have given a note to this effect by Nepal’s foreign ministry, and it is hoped that the Indian side would carry out the necessary investigations. The Government of India would do well to accept that its security forces were involved in the tragic incident.

It would be well if the Indian side offered a formal apology. This would help immensely in dealing with potential conflicts in the future. It is learnt that India wants to share the post-mortem and forensic reports of the incident. Those guilty for this killing should be brought to justice. Furthermore, marking the Nepal-India border in some places is long overdue, and this must be done without wasting any time.

The disaster could be blamed due to the lack of the demarcation of the boundary, 98 per cent of which, officials claim, have been complete. The two sides should sit across the table and give final shape to the strip maps even as this had not been taken up seriously by the authorities of both the countries.

The Kanchanpur incident is a grim reminder of how a situation can go wrong when diplomatic channels keep procrastinating and leave the sensitive border issues in the hands of the security forces.

Following the incident protests have taken place in various parts of the country and also in Punarbas Municipality.

What all must understand is the fact that a country may be big or small, but sovereignty of the small one remains equal. Given the age-old Nepal-India relations both the sides must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other as both the countries are not hostile against each other.

As for now, appropriate measures should be taken to avoid further confrontation on the Nepal-India border.

Sanitation plan

The government on Saturday unveiled a 10-point declaration on national sanitation to mark the 200th week of the Bagmati Clean-up Campaign. The declaration will come into force from the first day of Bikram Sambat, 2074.

According to the plan, all public/private organizations and schools must clean up their premises on the first and second week of every month. All municipalities are also required to maintain greenery by planting gardens and ornamental flowers on their premises and public places discouraging the use of plastic products in and around the office premises.

The initiatives taken by the government more than four years ago has brought positive results in keeping the Bagmati River fairly neat and clean as hundreds of thousands of people volunteered to remove garbage from the holy but polluted river.

The Bagmati is not the only river that has been polluted due to human activities. There are several rivers across the country that need immediate attention to keep their sanctity and purity. All municipalities should also launch a greenery campaign to keep their cities beautiful and suitable to live in.