The Government of Nepal has refuted former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s claims about building a Buddhist university in Mustang District with Indian assistance.
In a statement, the Government Spokesman confirmed that ex-PM Oli’s charges were incorrect and that the government had not approved the development of a Buddhist university near the Tibet Autonomous Area (TAR). “Claims about government permitting a varsity in Mustang’s Baragung Muktikshetra Village Council is delusional. We hereby also announce that the Government of Nepal hasn’t made any such decisions,” Rekha Sharma, the Minister for Communication and Information Technology stated in a release.
Former Prime Minister and CPN-UML (Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist) Chairman KP Sharma Oli stated on March 4 that the government is planning to allow India to construct a Buddhist university in the region where Khampa rebels resided after leaving Tibet in the twentieth century.
“In order to turn the country into a playground for foreigners, the government is allowing India to open a Buddhist college in Mustang. This plan is an attack on the country’s sovereignty,” the former Prime Minister claimed.
While condemning, the former Prime Minister also accused the current Premier of betraying China by accepting India’s plan to build a Buddhist college in the Himalayan area.
Local media at the end week of February reported about the government’s preparation to allow India to set up a Buddhist college in the restricted area of Mustang, which borders Tibet, China.
According to the report, the Indian government intends to invest more than Rs 700 million to establish Buddhist institutions in the Upper Mustang’s restricted territory. The Barha Gaun Mukti Chettra Rural Municipality, the local government of the restricted region, has requested funding from the Indian government via the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.
In response to the allegation, the Government Spokesperson, Rekha Sharma, in March 5 statement, decried Oli’s claim stating the proposal was forwarded to the government of India at the request of the local Barha Gaun Mukti Chettra Rural Municipality. Yet, no final decision has been taken.
It is to be noted that the Mustang Sakya Buddha Sangh took the initiative to open the college, arranged land for it and then requested the Indian side via the government of Nepal.
While addressing a party event, Oli alleged, “Establishing a Buddhist college in Mustang to placate foreigners is an assault on our nationality and betrayal of China, which is our friendly nation.
He also slammed the existing Prime Minister, citing a proposal to establish a Buddhist college in Mustang, a harkening back to the district’s Khampa (Tibetan militant) struggle in the early 1970s.
After some Tibetan militants waged military action against China from Nepali soil, the Nepal government had in 1974 peacefully disarmed the Khampas and settled them in various parts of the country.
“This is tantamount to the rejection of the country’s sovereignty and independence,” Oli said as he criticised Dahal, who had betrayed him in the wake of the Presidential Election slated for later this week.
Further, Oli questioned, “Why do you need a Buddhist college in a place where no one lives?”
“Gey Wangdi was the Khampa leader at that time (of the Khampa uprising). The Khampas were stationed near Marfa village. Now efforts are on to set up a Buddhist college in Lo Manthang, which is part of Upper Mustang, where no one lives,” Oli said.
“Only a handful of people with vested interests live there. This is a dangerous plan that we should oppose and confront.”
The Government spokesperson also stated that an investigation would be carried out on the one the former PM Oli raised, maintaining that no such decisions have been made to date.
(With inputs from ANI)