Thursday, June 4, 2009

SSB becomes Nepal's new villain

SSB becomes Nepal's new villain

4 Jun 2009, 1814 hrs IST, Sudeshna Sarkar, TNN

KATHMANDU: The Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB), India's paramilitary forces deployed along the Indo-Nepal border, have become the new villain in the
Himalayan republic with growing allegations of attacks and rape against them.

On Thursday, common complaints against India united Nepal's usual warring parties with 18 of them, including the current ruling party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), and its ally-turned-foe the Maoists, condemning reported fresh atrocities by the Indian forces and agreeing to send a team to two border districts for inspection.

Out of power and blaming India for that, the Maoists jumped into the fray Thursday after a series of reports in the media that the SSB was spreading terror in more than 20 border villages in Dang district in midwestern Nepal, roughing up men and raping women. The Kathmandu Post daily also said that Nepali women have been going missing while visiting their relatives across the border.

Over 2000 people were said to have fled their villages and taken shelter in a community forest. There are also reports of Indian encroachment on Nepali territory in Bara, Nawalparasi, Parsa, Darchula, Ilam and Jhapa districts.

While Nepal's home ministry said it had asked Dang's chief district officer to submit a report, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said it had not been given any official indication by the foreign ministry.

Nepal's student organisations have also announced they would send a team to Dang. Twelve such organisations have petitioned the new Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, and said they would hold protests before the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu Friday. Five lesser parties have already staged a demonstration before the embassy Wednesday.

The SSB has came under fire in the past too for fired on Nepali villagers returning home after buying essential goods in Indian border towns.


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