Nepal: Blatant encroachment of Susta by India continues unabated

Gopal Gurung

President, Save Susta Campaign

Q. How was the response of the political leaders and the ministers after you met them to resolve the Susta crisis?

Gurung: We came to know that Indian side had written a letter to the Nepal government claiming that Susta is part of India. We were also shown the letter that carried such skewed details.

We have already told the party leaders and the government officials that we are going to launch vigorous protests in collaboration with all patriotic Nepali people throughout the country if the Nepali government fails to deploy mapping team in the Susta area to legitimately reclaim the encroached land of 14,000 hectors.

Q. Don’t you think India must cooperate with Nepal for remapping the Susta border?

Gurung: We have been dedicatedly carrying our “Save Susta Campaign” since May 2006.  So, it is imperative for the Nepal government to consult with the Indian authority to reclaim the lost land.

Q. Being the president of the campaign, what do you think about the prime concerns of the Susta people?

Gurung: India has already occupied some 14,000 hectares of Nepali land in the Susta area. To add to the woes, the personnel belonging to the SSB misbehave raunchily with our daughters and sisters when they go for shopping in the nearby Indian market. We, men, are not allowed to enter the Indian market by the SSB. Those who are affiliated with the Save Susta Committee are ridiculously accused of committing treason by Indian authorities as if the committee members were the citizens of India.

Q. In how many wards of Susta is there the presence of India?

Gurung: Out of the total nine wards, India has shamelessly occupied seven wards. 

Q. How is the response of Nepali leaders towards the plights of Susta?

Gurung: The response is lackadaisical.

In 2025, Susta Panchayat was established. In 2034, after the people of Susta were displaced due to heavy flood in the Narayani river, the area was merged with Tribeni Panchayat. The displaced people were given lands at Chaumara, Thattekhola, Parsaiya and Keulani of Susta-Tribeni Panchayat. People were given land ownership certificates and those who failed to produce their citizenship certificates were given field book (temporary citizenship certificates). They failed to get lands in Tribeni area and they again settled at Susta. Now, it has turned a productive land and Indian side has occupied 1-7 wards.

Q. What are the Nepalis residing in those occupied area doing?

Gurung: Most of Nepalis are residing at the 8th and the 9th wards of Susta. The occupied lands i.e 1 to 7 wards are being used for farming purposes. Following the flooding, all Nepalis have been residing at ward no-8 and 9.

Following the encroachment, most of the people may have turned landless people

Of course, most of the people have become virtually landless.

Q. What are the people whose lands have been seized completely doing now?

Gurung: They are feeding their families by working for others. You can also easily imagine the sentiments of a person considered as a landlord arbitrarily turning into a landless peasant.

Q. How have you found the tendency of the Armed Police Force (APF) mobilized there?

Gurung: The Nepali government has mobilized both Nepal police and the Armed Police Force (APF). The SSB used to come to our village and mercilessly thrash us.  As per our demands, the government established the security base camp with the deployment of APF on Kartik, 2063.  Some 60 APF personnel were deployed and subsequently SSB ceased to come to our village to show its barbarism. However, the blatant encroachment of Susta by India continues unabated.

We have asked the CDO(Chief District Officer) to mobilze APF in our land which have now been encroached upon but the Home Ministry is yet to direct the administration to do so. It appears apparent that the government does not want to make any attempt to shield the territory of the country.

Q. Have the political leaders visited Susta and assured you of returning back the seized land?

Gurung: Apart from the Minister for Health and Population a parliamentary team had made visit to Susta from the political level. But, the top leadership from any political party has not visited the occupied area so far. The sister organization of the CPN (Maoist) Young Communist League (YCL) and the All Nepal Free Student Union (ANFSU), the student wing of the CPN (UML) had also visited the area.

Q. What should the political parties and the government do to solve this problem?

Gurung: They must take a prompt action towards solving the problem through political and diplomatic ways. Their job should be to geographically delineate the area and collect revenues from the area for the national coffer.

Q. How hopeful are you that the problem would be resolved?

Gurung: We are pretty optimistic because all Nepalis, intellectuals, civil society and students are cooperating with us.

Q. How many families are victimized by the encroachment unleashed by India in the Susta?

Gurung: All the 335 families of the area are reeling under the yoke of the heinous crime of India.

(Courtesy: The Weekly Mirror, Nepal)

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