Nepal decries allegations of ex-PM Oli about establishment of Buddhist varsity in areas close to China

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.

March 06, 2023 12:15 pm | Updated 02:52 pm IST - Kathmandu [Nepal]

Nepal’s former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli. File

Nepal’s former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli. File | Photo Credit: AP

The Government of Nepal has decried allegations made by former PM K.P. Sharma Oli about the establishment of a Buddhist University in Mustang District with Indian aid. Issuing a release, the Government Spokesperson stated that the allegations made by ex-PM Oli were false and denied that the government has given any permission for the establishment of a Buddhist University in an area that is close to the Tibet Autonomous Region (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 chairman of CPN-UML (Communist Party of Nepal- Unified Marxist Leninist) Mr. Oli on March 4 claimed that the government is planning to allow India to establish a Buddhist University in the area where the Khampa rebellions had settled after fleeing Tibet in the 20th 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 criticising, the former PM also accused the incumbent Premier of betraying China by accepting India's proposal to open a Buddhist college in the Himalayan region.

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. As per the report, the Indian Government has planned to spend over ₹700 million to set up Buddhist colleges in the restricted territory of the Upper Mustang. The Barha Gaun Mukti Chettra Rural Municipality — the local body of the restricted area had sent the request to Indian Government via the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu for the funds to construct the Buddhist University.

In response to the allegation, the Government Spokesperson, Rekha Sharma in a March 5 statement decried Mr. 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, and 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, Mr. 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 lambasted at incumbent Prime Minister claiming a plan to set up the Buddhist college in Mustang, a reminder of the Khampa (Tibetan militant) rebellion in the district 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,” Mr. Oli said as he criticised Mr. Dahal who had betrayed him in wake of the Presidential Election slated for later this week. Further, Mr. 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,” Mr. Oli said.

”Only a handful of people with vested interests live there. This is a dangerous plan that we should oppose and confront,” Mr. Oli added. The Government Spokesperson also stated that an investigation would be carried out on the one raised by the former PM Oli, maintaining that no such decisions have been made to date.

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