Radio channels in Nepal air weather reports on disputed areas: Residents

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: Some Nepalese FM radio stations have started broadcasting weather bulletins for Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, areas close to the border that Nepal claims its own in a move that has irked India, according to residents in the frontier areas in Uttarakhand.

These radio programmes could be heard from Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh on the border. The FM stations are located in Darchula, the district in Nepal bordering India.

Nepal has issued a new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepalese territory, a move that has drawn flak from India.

Krishna Garbiyal, a prominent leader of the Rung community in Dharchula town in Pithoragarh, said the Nepalese FM stations have started giving weather reports of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.

Residents in bordering areas, especially in Dharchula, also said the radio channels, in between songs, were airing speeches by Nepali politicians and leaders claiming that the disputed areas belonged to Nepal.

“...Nepalese songs are listened to by villagers on both sides of the border, these anti-India speeches, delivered by Nepalese leaders from time to time, affect people living on both sides of the border...,” said Shalu Dayal, a resident of Dantu village of Dharchula.

Ashok Nabiyal, a social activist from Dharchula’s Vyans Valley, said Indian intelligence agencies active at Indo-Nepal border need to take cognisance of this “propaganda”. “Nepalese propaganda is clearly aimed at influencing locals on this side of the border and strengthening their claims...,” he said.

Districts officials said they were not aware of any propaganda from Nepalese side. “We do not have any such information. Our intelligence units have given us any feedback on this issue,” said Preeti Priya Darshani, superintendent of police (SP) of Pithoragarh.

Nrip Singh Napalchyal , former Uttarakhand chief secretary and a resident of Pithoragarh’s Rang community, said that “traditionally and historically” Kalapani had always been venerated as the source of the Kali River.

It originates from Kalapani, at an altitude of 3,600 metres, and flows southwards. The area is named after Hindu goddess Kali, whose temple is situated in near the strategically important Lipulekh pass that is on India’s border with China.

“Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura are part of the Indian border with China and they have no relation with the Nepal border. Lipulekh pass has served as the entrance of Indian traders and pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar, which has never been objected to by any ruler of Nepal till now,” said Napalchyal.

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