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Nepal: Oli’s Cartographic Nationalism has its Limits:

Paper No, 6594                      Dated 12-June-2020
By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan
 
Many in Nepal strongly believe that Prime Minister Oli is using the new map of Nepal to feed his ego and is also using his nationalistic rhetoric to discount every other problem the country is facing.
 
The Constitutional Amendment bill on the map is likely to be passed by Saturday 13th June and then one would ask- what  is he going to do next? Despite innumerable problems facing the country, he continues to be arrogant and is not even willing to tell the Parliament how has already spent 10 Billion Rupees of the Covid-19 Fund. 
 
News just broke out that the Nepalese Police on the Sitamarhi border fired on Indian farmers resulting in death of one person and injuries to two others,  Full details are not yet known.  This is going to complicate the relationship between the two countries, if the notoriously trigger happy Policemen were at fault.
 
The country had been under lock-down for nearly 80 days and Oli who claimed to know more about the Wuhan Virus than anyone else was adamant to continue the lock-down!  Doctors and Public Health Experts advised him last week to ease the lock-down, increase testing, employ PCR testing rather than the not so reliable Rapid Diagnostic testing and refrain from unsustainable claims.
 
Worse is yet to come when the migrant labour from the Middle East is due to come some from next week.  Then Oli may possibly be seeing a Virus more lethal than those of China or Italy as he once said in one of his  flippant remarks about the Virus coming from India. 
 
The question of unsustainable claim arose from the speech made by Oli in the Parliament that Nepalis have a greater immunity system than others since the food they take has a mixture of garlic, turmeric and ginger!  When the opposition Leader Gagan Thapa asked Oli as to who said it, the PM derisively told the Parliament that this view is from no one else than himself.
 
Dr, Baburam Bhattarai of the opposition rightly pointed out that Oli appears to be suffering from the “Dunning-Kruger Effect” a type of Cognitive bias where incompetent people are unable to recognize their own incompetence and end up believing that they are smart.  Surely, Oli appears to be suffering from this psychological syndrome.
 
Sameer Mani Dixit, Research Director of Molecular Dynamics, Nepal has pointed out that Oli does not understand Covid-19 (Wuhan Virus)
 
It is presumed that Oli is not unaware that thousands of Nepalese are still in make shift quarantine facilities that are themselves becoming hotspots for the Virus to spread due to cramped conditions and lack of sanitary facilities.  The Government’s failure to address the plight of the poor and marginalised who are suffering disproportionately from the lock down particularly when many of them have lost their jobs is known to everyone and protests have started. (Some of my friends from Nepal may say that some States in India are doing no better and I concede that point).
 
It was one such protest before Prime Minister’s residence at Baluwater on Tuesday, June 8th that brought the Police to use disproportionate force to disperse the crowd.
 
There were hardly 150 protestors and they were having safe “social distancing” from each other and were very peaceful.  The only “ arms” they carried were placards. The protestors were mainly young people, boys and girls who demanded from the Government to improve the quarantine conditions, and make wider use of the PCR tests.  The crowd was dispersed with force with baton charging and Water Canons.  The pictures that have come out in the Nepalese Press show the wanton disproportionate use of force by the Police on a harmless group of protestors.
 
The protests had some effect as the lock down in Kathmandu is being eased from 11th June onwards, when shops will be allowed to open partially and private vehicles may start plying.
 
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