Nepal PM draws flak on social media for using country's old map in Dussehra greeting

1 month ago 9

Nepal on Sunday issued a clarification after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was criticised and trolled on social media for not using the revised political map of Nepal which should have included the three disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Lympiyadhura claimed by India.

KP Sharma Oli also drew flak from the Opposition for using a dated map which looked like a backtrack since his "Vijayadashami" message was put out a day after India's R&AW Chief Samant Kumar Goel's visit to Kathmandu.

On Friday, Oli, in a Twitter message, had conveyed his best wishes to the people of Nepal for Vijayadashami or Dussehra.

The Nepal government clarified that the map used to convey Oli's Vijayadashami greetings was distorted because of technical reasons and added that the administration is seriously looking into the matter.

In response to the criticism, the prime minister's Press Advisor, Surya Thapa, said in a statement that the revised map was used in the prime minister's message, but was not visible due to its small size.

"For the sake of design, the map that was used has been subjected to rumours and comments that are unnecessary. It is natural that we would be using the map which is nationally acceptable," the statement read in Nepali.

Oli's Foreign Affairs Advisor Rajan Bhattarai said that Nepal has not diluted its claim to the Kalapani region.

While Kathmandu has said that it stands by the cartographic changes made by the country's parliament, it was the Oli administration that had ordered the withdrawal of school textbooks that had included the new map six weeks ago.

Calling this controversy a "propaganda", Thapa appealed in his statement not to fall for it. "We request the patriotic people not to fall for such propaganda and campaigns about our map," he said.

The statement also said, "We are very concerned about the misinterpretation of the map that was used in Prime Minster Oli's Vijayadashami greetings. This is something that we are seriously looking into."

In June, Nepal's Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura which is part of Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.

After Indian R&AW chief Samant Kumar Goel's visit this week, Indian Army chief General MM Naravane is scheduled to visit Nepal next month.

Dussehra or Vijayadashami was celebrated across India on October 25.

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