KATHMANDU: The Nepali Congress (NC), on October 14, 2020, demanded the then KP Oli-led government send a protest note regarding the Chinese encroachment of Nepal’s territory in Humla.
Issuing a press release, the party came down heavily on the then government over its silence on the intrusion of Nepali territory by China.
Meanwhile, on September 1, the government led by NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba decided to form a committee to “study the border dispute with China in Humla” and to come up with a report.
But, the question arises: Will the government be able to bring back its territory or is it just for the sake of formality or to hoodwink the people?
“This is not a question of initiating efforts. It is mandatory,” says foreign affairs expert Arun Kumar Subedi, adding, “The government must bring back its encroached territory, but the process is complicated.”
Subedi said that since the area is not a disputed territory, the government must be able to “handle this problem with care”.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers on September 1 decided to form a committee to study the border encroachment issue in Limi Lapcha to Hilla in Namkha village municipality of Humla district.
Law Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki said that a committee comprising the Department of Survey, Nepal Police, Armed Police, and border experts will be formed under the coordination of the Home Ministry Joint Secretary to study the problems in the border area of Humla district.
It should be noted that China has encroached on Nepali land and built nine buildings in Humla.
Last year, a team of lawmakers and high officials including NC Central Committee Member Jeewan Bahadur Shahi visited the “intruded territory” and made the details of encroachment public.
Consider what Shahi had said after he visited the district last year: “Based on my field visit to Humla’s northern belt, I found that several kilometers of Nepal’s land has been encroached by China.”
Soon after the report was made public, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu sent a letter to the NC accusing its lawmaker of ‘repeatedly spreading claims’ of encroachment.
In the letter exclusively obtained by Khabarhub, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu accused lawmaker Shahi of ‘repeatedly spreading claims accusing China’.
The Embassy said the claims have been already confirmed to baseless and untrue.
A treaty signed between Nepal and China in 1976 had established the boundary line and was later ratified in August 1982 following a dispute regarding the boundary line in 1965/66.
The boundary line was fixed on the basis of the watershed boundary principle, i.e. the peak and Dhalo/Khola under mutual understanding.
There are altogether 10 pillars — 12, 11, 10, 9 (1), 9(2), 8 (1), 7 (1) 6 (1), 5 (1) and 5 (2) in Humla district. While pillars 9 (1), 8(1), 7 (1) 6 (1), 5 (1) belong Nepal; 12, 11, 10, 9 (2) and 5 (2) are joint pillars along the northern border.
Since the majority of the pillars lie in the remote areas of the district, Nepali authorities hardly reach there for inspection.
Meanwhile, the disputed pillar no 12 on the northern border is placed on an elevation of 5,018 meters at Lapcha Bhanjang, Namkha rural municipality ward no 6 of the Limi valley from where the Manasarovar Lake and Mt. Kailash can be viewed from the Nepali land.
The physical structure built by China in Lolungjong falls in the Nepali territory and that China has encroached on Nepali land in Humla, according to Shahi’s report.
According to the report, China has also encroached some two kilometers of the section of a road built by Nepal from Gappudocha in the district.
Shahi said the team carried out an 11-day study from Pillar-5 to Pillar-12 in which it was evident that China had encroached Nepali territory in the district of Humla.
Immediately, NC Spokesperson Bishwo Prakash Sharma blamed the then government that it had been attempting to conceal the matter of encroachment.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied any encroachment from the Chinese side.