From Facebook status to parliament: Is Ranjit Rae’s Nepal posting on a countdown?

Ranjit Rae
MPs Anuradha Thapamagar, left, and Prem Suwal, right, are the latest Nepalese parliamentarians to demand expulsion of ambassador Ranjit Rae.

As Kathmandu’s local media wrapped up news desks yesterday evening, their Indian counterparts spotted breaking news in the fresh demand for expulsion of ambassador Ranjit Rae, specially because the call this time was made right at the top level.

“Who is India to interfere in Nepal’s Constitution? No one can disintegrate the nation. Send the Indian ambassador back to India,” Zee News, Economic Times, Business Standard and many other Indian media outlets quoted two fierce leftist MPs from Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP).

Parliamentarians Prem Suwal and Anuradha Thapa Magar of the NWPP chanted slogans against the Indian envoy during Tuesday’s session at Nepal’s Legislature Parliament. They may have been only two but the duo brought the proceedings of the parliament to a standstill, Kathmandu correspondent said this morning.

Yesterday’s demand was the most direct threat to the diplomatic career of ambassador Rae in Nepal as it came at the parliamentary level.

“The envoy lied when personnel of Seema Surakshya Bal opened fire at Nepalis in Sunsari, tried to assure foreign diplomats that India has not imposed any sort of blockade,” local media later quoted Mr Suwal as saying. He further added that the envoy must be sent back in protest ‘against India’s atrocity over an independent and sovereign nation’.

The first demand to deport Mr Rae was made by a CPN UML lawmaker (Surya Thapa) weeks ago through his Facebook status and this was followed by a similar demand in a recent meeting of the State Affairs Committee – where another set of MPs from the same party decried the ambassador’s anti-Nepal activities. They remarked that Mr Rae was a danger to the age-old relationship between the two South Asian nations.

Ranjit Rae, Indian ambassador to Nepal

At the November 11 meeting of the State Affairs Committee, parliamentarians claimed that the Indian ambassador had violated all diplomatic norms by regularly criticising and commenting on matters that were the sole concerns of Nepal and Nepalese people only. They wanted him gone for good before, they warned, he further damaged the relationship between the two South Asian neighbours. MPs Yagyaraj Sunuwar and Gauri Oli (both from UML) said on the occasion that the controversial diplomat had violated the code of conduct an emissary was expected to observe – such as not commenting on the internal matters of a host nation.

More recently, parliamentarians have also demanded action from the government against the shooting of four Nepalese citizens by members of India’s Sashastra Seema Bal personnel.

The uproar from the leftist party was followed by another sloganeering from Madhesi parliamentarians who called for their demands to be met by the Nepalese government. The House was adjourned till December 6.

Madhesis, Nepalese citizens who share their culture and language with Indians across the Indo-Nepal border, are currently leading a now-violent-now-peaceful agitation against the newly-promulgated constitution of the mountain republic.

They claim the new constitution of the Himalayan nation does not guarantee them their full democratic rights as the citizens of the country. They argue that the statute discriminates them against the Pahadis, the hill people as opposed to Madhesis who principally reside in the southern plains of the South Asian republic.

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