The government has asked All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) to develop special content and strengthen coverage on the Indo-Nepal border to counter attempts to whip up tension in the region. This comes after the controversial arrest of alleged Kashmiri militant Liyaquat Ali Shah and reports on how he crossed into India via the Nepal border.
Ever since the controversy erupted,there is resentment in the area over the Indian security establishment using the Nepal route to get surrendered militants,who are to be rehabilitated,into the country. Nepalese residents on the border feel their security is being jeopardised over an issue in which their country has no stake.
On the other hand,the arrest of alleged Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his aide from Pokhara in Nepal has revealed that the nation is a favoured transit point for IM members and the outfit is trying to establish its base there by trying to influence locals.
The latest incident to ring alarm bells within the Indian security establishment is the alleged distribution of some CDs on the border that could create a misunderstanding between citizens of the two nations. Pamphlets with inflammatory anti-India content are also being distributed.
AIR and DD have been roped in to counter the development. The matter was discussed at a recent meeting chaired by the Home Secretary and Secretary Border Management and attended by Prasar Bharati officials.
There are reports about distribution of CDs showing Indians torturing Nepalese people that could foment tension. That is why public broadcasters have been asked to develop special content highlighting the friendly relations between the two nations. AIR already broadcasts in languages of neighbouring countries,including Nepali,to reach out to them. Programmes with a special focus on local culture are a staple on both TV and radio, said an official who attended the meeting.
DD has been asked to develop films to dispel any anti-India sentiment. A review meeting to monitor the effectiveness of the plan will be held in a fortnight.
The Indo-Nepal border is a key focus area under the 12th plan for Prasar Bharati and 22 FM transmitters have been sanctioned on the border to counter Chinese propaganda.
AIR and DD already have special programmes tailor-made for regions on the borders with Pakistan,China,Bhutan and other countries. Radio Kashmir,for example,broadcasts Vadi Ki Awaaz and a daily 30 minute programme called Fiqr-o-khayal to counter anti-India propaganda from across the border. Another daily capsule called Sheherbaan is a collection of radio reports on Sadbhavna initiatives undertaken by the Army in the Valley.