Nepal has started radio warfare in bordering villages of Uttarakhand. The residents of these villages can catch Nepali Radio stations that are now playing anti-India songs from the last few months. These songs mainly state that areas like Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura in Uttarakhand are part of Nepal and India should return them. Nepal has recently included these areas in its new map. These songs are played several times between shows, including news bulletins. Along with anti-India sentiment, these songs also taunt Nepalese politicians for “not doing enough” to take control of the land that “belongs” to Nepal.
Locals raised concerns on increasing anti-India propaganda
In a report, TOI shared statements of several residents living on bordering villages. Babita Sanwal, a school teacher in Dharchula, district Pithoragarh, said that she was a regular listener of Darchula FM of Nepal. But now she has stopped listening to Nepalese radio since they started playing anti-India songs. The lyrics of one song she shared were “Hamrai ho tyo Kalapani, Lipulekha, Limpiyadhura… Utha, jaga, veer Nepali (Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura are ours… Wake up, brave people).”
Another Nepalese song popular on such FM channels says, “Lipulekh and Kalapani should be ours, it’s our land that has been stolen”. As per the reports, these songs are not new and have been making rounds from almost a year and a half. However, they have resurfaced with increased frequency recently, and they were premiered on Youtube and other platforms between March and June. Some of Nepal’s FM channels who broadcast such content are Kalapani Radio, Lok Darpan, Mallikarjun Radio, Naya Nepal, Darchula Radio, and many more. These channels are easily accessible by the villages on India’s side.
Shalu Datal, a resident of Dantu village, talked to Hindustan Times and claimed that these channels play anti-India speeches between the songs too. “Some old channels like Mallikarjun Radio and a website named annapurna.online are also broadcasting reports depicting Kalapani as Nepalese territory,” she said.
A local trader from Dharchula, Krishna Garbiyal, was a regular listener of news on these radio stations. He stopped listening to these channels when they started broadcasting such content. Some songs even stated that Shillong and Darjeeling were part of Nepal.
Chief secretary of Uttarakhand, N S Napalchyal, said, “The state government and even the central government should start its own community radios in the area to give a clear picture to locals about the present scenario.” He hails from the Dharchula area of Pithoragarh. Madan Kaushik, a state government spokesperson, stated it is a genuine concern and the government is focusing on setting up community radios.
Nepalese Radio denied propaganda
An RJ from Nepalese Radio Manju Tinkari said in a statement that they do not exaggerate or underplay anything. They mainly concentrate on news bulletins as they have happened. The listeners dictate song requests and they just oblige to them. A senior Nepalese official stated such anti-India songs are not common in Nepal. He said that they might be prevalent in the areas along the border.
Radio warfare is nothing new for India. Pakistan has been indulging in such tactics both on radio and television alongside the border for a long time. India has countered such propaganda in the past. However, as of now, the local administration has shown ignorance towards the propaganda. Pithoragarh Superintendent of Police Preeti Priyadarshini said in her statement that the intelligence units had not shared any intel on such propaganda. Dharchula Circle Officer V K Acharya said, “Our intelligence units have not yet spoken about any such anti-India propaganda by Nepal.” The local leaders are, however, urging for strong action. A leader from Vyas Valley Ashok Nabiyal said that the intelligence agencies, alongside the border, need to take cognizance of the situation and take immediate action to counter the propaganda.