Faced with a harsh winter ahead, Nepal’s top political leadership has now reached out to spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to lean on the NDA government to remove what Kathmandu calls an “unofficial blockade” and help resolve the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
Sources told The Indian Express that Nepal’s Deputy PM Kamal Thapa — who also holds the foreign minister’s portfolio — met Ravi Shankar on Tuesday in Bengaluru, before coming to Delhi. Thapa is a devout follower of Sri Ravi Shankar.
Officials from both Indian and Nepalese side confirmed Thapa’s meeting with the spiritual leader, who is the founder of the Art of Living foundation.
The meeting between Thapa and Ravi Shankar, who enjoys a rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assumes significance as he is believed to have “influence” on the Indian establishment, Nepal sources said.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Modi, who have known each other since 2000 when the PM was an RSS pracharak, have met each other a few times in the last year-and-a-half.
Thapa on Wednesday also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and briefed her on the political dialogue with various stakeholders on four key issues — constituency delimitation, political representation, citizenship and demarcation of provinces.
Swaraj asked Nepal to normalise the situation as soon as possible. She also told him that India has always stood for a peaceful and prosperous Nepal which also is in India’s interest. She also told him that India has gone out of the way to ensure medical supplies to the Himalayan nation while rejecting any hindrance to supplies from the country.
Thapa, who is visiting India for the second time in less than two months, hoped for an early resolution of the issues, official sources said. During his first visit in October within days of assuming office, Thapa had met Modi and Swaraj after which Indian officials had agreed to re-route the vehicles carrying essential supplies to Nepal from those border points which are less disturbed.
Fellow protesters set Madhesi youth on fire
By: Yubaraj Ghimire
Kathmandu: The ongoing movement by the United Democratic Madhesi Front is getting more and more violent as its supporters on Wednesday set on fire an 18-year-old youth in Nawalparasi district, four days after a similar incident in Morang district. The protesters briefly detained the youth, Sandeep Yadav, and then set him on fire after sprinkling petrol on him. Yadav had been accused of not cooperating with the movement by smuggling fuel from across the border. Another youth had been burnt alive on similar charges four days ago.