Bir Bahadur Chand, 81, of Dasarath Chand Municipality-4 is a retired assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of Nepal Police who was deployed at Kalapani for security of the area 48 years ago with arms when India encorached it.
By constructing a check-post at Tinkar, Darchula, he regularly patrolled and protected the Nepali border from 2029 to 2031 BS.
The Rising Nepal talked to Chand about his experience and the ongoing border issue between Nepal and India.
You've known the Nepal-India border issue and have been oberving Kalapani issue for the last 48 years. The issue hasn’t been resolved yet. What is your take on this border issue?
Kalapani is Nepali land which was encroached by India. Its proof can be accessed from the Land Revenue Office, Baitadi. The revenues of Darchula district used to be submitted at Baitadi Office in the past. Receipts of revenue collected from land encroached by India can be obtained from Baitadi Land Revenue Office even today.
How did you reach Kalapani 48 years ago with arms?
We used to patrol regularly from Tinkhar Police Check-Post till Changru. I believe I was the first person to step in Kalapani encroached by India with arms 48 years ago.
For how long did you stay at Tinkar with the responsibility of watching over Kalapani? How was the environment then? Which route was in use for human movement?
Then Prime Minister Kirtinidhi Bista had removed the check-points set up in the Southern and Northern parts of Nepali territory by India and China respectively by encroaching our land.
Nepal had planned to set up a security post at Tinkar by removing the Indian check-post.
The Nepal Government had separated Rs. 2,500 budget to establish a Check-post at Tinkar but it wasn’t enough. So I personally spent money from my pocket to make the check-point. The building of Check-point was worth Rs. 4,800. My salary was Rs. 304 then.
After the Check-post was set up at Tinkar, India started watching over us. India also stopped us from using Indian roads.
Tinkar is a very cold place. It is cold throughout the year, which witnesses heavy snowfall during winter. Changru lies just below Tinkar.
Till date, people travel to Changru to beat the cold weather of Tinkar.
How did you reach Tinker with responsibility to watch over Kalapani?
On 2029 BS, out team reached Huti on foot from Darchula headquarters. On the second day, we reached Rapla from Huti. Rapla had thin human settlements.
On the third day, we reached Budi from Rapla. Budi was a deserted place with no human settlement. There, we stayed in a cave that night.
On the fourth day, we reached Changru and we then constructed a check-post at Tinkar that lies above Changru.
How did you look after Kalapani from Tinkar?
We started conducting regular patrolling from Tinkar. We used to patrol till Changru. Changru is at a distance of 12 Kilometers from Kalapani.
While patrolling, the Indian side had destructed the wooden bridge over Mahakali River. I reached till Kalapani with arms. I found out that India had kept me under surveillance. The Indians didn’t let me use the Indian road for second time.
While I applied for a pass, the Indian refused to provide me the pass by stating 'Bir Bahadur Chand is not allowed to use Indian road'.
Check-post was set up at Tinkar 48 years ago. Don’t you think the surveillance of security workers was not enough in protecting the border?
Indeed a good question! In the previous days only Kalapani was in dispute. Now, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura of Nepal have been included in India's map.
Kalapani has become a never healing wound to our country. Now, India has also constructed road in our land. 48 years ago, 19 security officials were deployed at Tinkar and Changru.
Now, the number of security officials was supposed to be 200. But since the police deployed at offices at the border don’t even attend their responsibility, it is true that India has been able to encroach Nepali territory.
What would you recommend to the government and locals about the border issue?
Had Nepal set upcCheck-posts and increased security officials in time, we wouldn’t be witnessing this problem now.
The voices against Kalapani border issue are being raised in Kathmandu and media only.
As soon as media broadcasts and publishes news about the border issue, the locals of Tinkar and Changru face a lot of difficulties from Indian side.
The border issue must be resolved through diplomatic channel. But before that, the government should construct roadways to connect locals of Tinkar with Nepal.
The locals of Tinkar who are currently dependent upon India will develop feeling of nationality only if they are connected to Nepal.
The government should not delay in increasing the surveillance at Kalapani by immediately establishing a check-post and deploying a special police force.