Nepal asks India to probe SSB’s involvement in Dhami disappearanceForeign Ministry has also drawn New Delhi’s attention to airspace violation by Indian non-military helicopter in Darchula.
Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested the government of India to launch a detailed investigation into the involvement of Indian security personnel in the disappearance of a Nepali youth in the Mahakali river in Darchula district a little over a month ago. The ministry has also drawn India’s attention to a non-military helicopter using the Nepali sky in the same district.
The ministry sent two diplomatic notes to India, through the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, on Friday.
The ministry has not made public the content of the notes, copies of which have been obtained by the Post.
According to the diplomatic note regarding Jaya Singh Dhami’s disappearance in the Mahakali, the Foreign Ministry has sought a detailed investigation into India’s Seema Sashastra Bal’s involvement and compensation to his family.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal, presents its compliments to the Embassy of India in Kathmandu and has the honour to inform, as requested by the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of Nepal, that Jaya Singh Dhami, a Nepali national, resident of Byas Rural Municipality Ward No. 2 fell into the Mahakali River near Malghat together with the single rope-way (tuin) that he was using to cross the River from Nepal to India on July 30, 2021,” reads the note. “The ministry has the further honour to inform that an investigation report on the fateful event surrounding Dhami’s missing prepared by a committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs reveals, citing the eyewitness and analyzing the facts and circumstances leading to his missing, that the incident occurred in the presence of Sashastra Seema Bal personnel of India.”
The ministry, the note adds, therefore, has the honour to request the government of India to “kindly launch a detailed investigation into the involvement of SSB personnel of India in the incident so as to take necessary legal action against those involved in the incident and to provide compensation to the family of the victim.”
On July 30, Dhami, 33, was trying to cross the Mahakali river using an improvised cable crossing, known locally as tuin, the only means to get to the district headquarters Khalanga, from where he was planning to travel to Kathmandu.
According to local residents and eyewitnesses, a member of India’s Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) had detached the metal cable from a tree supporting the cable crossing just when Dhami had almost reached the other side.
The government formed a probe committee on August 1, which submitted its report to Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand on August 31. The government has not made the probe report public. The Home Ministry, however, said in a statement that the “incident took place in the presence of India's Sashastra Seema Bal”.
The failure of the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government to take up the issue with India had drawn widespread criticism. The day the probe team submitted its report to the home minister, India said that it was unaware of any official communication from the Nepal side regarding the Darchula incident.
“We have heard about the incident through some media, but no official information has been shared with us yet,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, on Thursday during a regular press briefing.
That India was not informed by the Nepal government led to protests in Nepal, with protesters accusing the Sher Bahadur Deuba administration of failing to show urgency regarding the incident.
Amid the government delay in taking the Darchula youth’s disappearance up with India, reports surfaced that an Indian helicopter had been flying in Nepali skies for days. This fanned the flames in Kathmandu and elsewhere. Critics were quick to charge Deuba with being servile to the southern neighbour.
In a separate note, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the Indian embassy to communicate about the Indian chopper flying in Nepali skies with the authorities concerned in India.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government of Nepal, presents its compliments to the Embassy of India in Kathmandu and has the honour to inform, as reported by authorities concerned of the government of Nepal that a non-military helicopter of India has been flying regularly in recent days using the sky of Nepal over the Guru Gorakh Gulma Headquarters, Khalanga Barracks, Darchula, Nepal, without coordination and obtaining any necessary permission from the authorities concerned of Nepal,” reads the note. “Therefore, the ministry requests the esteemed embassy to communicate the same to the authorities concerned of the government of India and advise them to ensure obtaining prior permission of the authorities concerned of the government of Nepal to use the sky of Nepal.”
Both the notes end with: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the government of Nepal avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the embassy of India in Kathmandu the assurances of highest consideration.”
It was not immediately clear whether the notes had been already dispatched to New Delhi and whether responses had been made.
Sewa Lamsal, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, confirmed to the Post that the notes were sent to India via the Indian embassy. She did not provide further details on the progress.
“The notes were sent based on the findings and reports from the authorities,” she told the Post.