New Delhi: Nepal is burning and Indians facing racist attacks are fleeing. Trucks with Indian registration number and shops of people of Indian origin are being openly targeted, right in front of policemen.
For the past 13 days, curfew has been on in Biratnagar, Birganj, Nepalganj, Rajbiraj, Mahendra Nagar and Janakpur areas of Southern Nepal. The impact of the violence is being felt along the border in Bihar.
“When we say we are Indians, they ask us to go back,” victim Suresh Ram says.
“A mob of 500 broke the screen of my truck,” said Bihari Truck Driver.
The entire Terai belt-bordering India is burning as Nepali paharis and those of Indian origin, called Madhesis, are at loggerheads.
The entire conflict has been triggered by Madhesis demanding greater say in various aspects of public life. “Madesh contributes 80 per cent to Nepal’s economy but only 15 per cent is spent on it,” says Madheshi leader Santosh Kumar.
The pressure is being felt on this side of the border as well. The Indian government is distributing pamphlets asking for restraint.
"All our police station across the border have been strengthen with more staff & officers. We have issued appeal and we have distributed pamphlet among people that we must not violate the sanctity of the International border. Its a internal problem of Nepal & we must respect that," Afzal Ammanullah, Home Secretary, Bihar.
While it will be sometime before peace returns to southern Nepal, the fierce instability in India's neighbourhood is, no doubt, cause for worry.