PM Oli claims Lord Ram for Nepal, says India created 'fake' Ayodhya

Topics KP Sharma Oli | Nepal | Ayodhya case

PM Oli downplayed the intra-party rift and said such disputes are
Lord Ram was born in Nepal but India had created a "fake" Ayodhya as his birthplace, said K P Oli, the Himalayan nation’s Prime Minister, on Monday as ties between the two countries come under stress.

Oli’s statement, as reported by the Himalayan Times, comes at a time when the two countries are holding back-channel talks after Nepal claimed Indian territories of Lipulekh-Kalapani in a new map released last month.

"Balmiki Ashram is in Nepal and the holy place where King Dashrath had executed the rites to get the son is in Ridi. Dashrath's son Ram was not an Indian and Ayodhya is also in Nepal," Oli said. 

Legend says Sita after she was abandoned by Ram, lived in the ashram of sage Valmiki with sons Lav and Kush on the bank of Narayani (Gandak River) along present-day Nepal border with Bihar. The place attracts a large number of pilgrims even today.

Oli statement is likely to create a controversy in India, where the Supreme Court last year paved the way for the creation of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, where many Hindus believe the revered figure was born. 

PM Naredra Modi with his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli during the inauguration of south Asia's first cross border oil pipeline

New Delhi is yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Kathmandu partially lifts ban on Indian news channels

Nepal's cable television operators on Monday partially lifted the ban on Indian private news channels. "A few news channels airing objectionable content are still banned in the country," said Dhurba Sharma,  vice president of television operators' association.

On Thursday, operators stopped transmissitting of all Indian private news channels, accusing them of airing reports hurting Nepal's national sentiment. Nepal's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology also thanked the cable operators for taking action against Indian news channels. Doordarshan, India's state-run broadcaster, was not banned.

Nepal had sent a 'diplomatic note' to India last week, urging New Delhi to take steps against the broadcast of materials which it called "fake, baseless and insensitive as well as abusive" to the country and its leadership by a section of the Indian media.

Ruling Communist Party's Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other senior leaders Madhav Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam ask for PM KP Oli's resignation in a standing committee meeting of the party, citing his failure over various issues.

Intra-Party dispute worsens as Oli takes on New Delhi

Amid speculation that the NCP could split after top party leaders, including Pushpa Kamal Dahal, demanded the prime minister's resignation, the ruling communist party executive chairman ‘Prachanda’ said that he will not allow it to happen. Prachanda had earlier pointed that Oli's recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.” Prachanda also advised the party cadres to abide by the party principles and not to run from one camp to another at the time of the crisis.

“It is natural to have differences of opinion, dispute and debate in a big party, but I will not allow the party to split,” he said. “If there is a dispute in the party, there are proper procedures to resolve it,” PTI quoted Prachanda as saying.

Meanwhile, the beleaguered prime minister downplayed the intra-party rift and said such disputes are "regular phenomena" that can be resolved through dialogue as he vowed to protect Nepal's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Oli, during his visit to Janaki temple in Janakpur in May 2018. | PTI file photo

A newly drawn map and the resulting border row

India's relations with Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8. Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected Nepal's claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.

Later, Nepal updated its political map through a Constitutional amendment, incorporating three strategically important Indian areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura. The development came as India was engaged with China on the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. 

India has rejected as "untenable" the "artificial enlargement" of the territorial claims by Nepal. 

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