Indian envoy’s remark stir Nepal

Nepalese political parties on Friday strongly protested the reported remarks of an Indian diplomat allegedly inciting politicians from the country’s southern part to ‘create a storm’ for the cause of Madhes region.

Nepalese media reported that S D Mehta, Consular General at Birgunj Consulate Office close to Indo-Nepal border, in an informal meeting on Wednesday evening tried to persuade leaders of the Nepali Congress, UML and the Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum-Nepal of Parsa and Bara districts ‘to take to the streets and bring storm before May 27 for the sake of Madhes.’

However, the Indian Embassy here denied the remarks attributed to Mehta by Nepalese media.

‘The media reports about remarks attributed to the Indian Consular General were misleading and factually incorrect,’ a statement issued by the embassy said.

‘India remains committed to supporting the constitution making process for the establishment of a stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal and will cooperate in the manner determined exclusively by the people and leadership of Nepal,’ the statement added.

The three major political parties have raised objection to the statement of Mehta saying his opinions interfered with Nepal’s internal affairs as it went against diplomatic norms, according to party sources.

Emerging from the three party meeting Deputy Prime Minister and Maoist vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha told reporters that the Foreign Ministry will take steps to draw India’s attention on Mehta’s statement.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai on Friday inquired about the matter during his meeting with Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayanta Prasad.

Foreign Secretary Bhattarai said ‘the matter has drawn serious attention of government of Nepal,’ according to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arjun Bahadur Thapa.

Bhattarai also asked Prasad to take necessary steps in the matter as the remarks could damage existing bilateral relations between the two countries, Thapa said.

Prasad assured the Nepalese Foreign Secretary that he would enquire about the matter and inform him.

Maoist chief Prachanda also sought clarification from the Indian Ambassador regarding the statement by Mehta, according to sources.
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