Kathmandu, Sept 29: Nepal Government today asked the cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.
The Ministry of Information and Communications sought clarification from various cable operators as to why action must not be taken against them as they have violated the National Broadcasting Act.
Cable TV operators in Nepal today stopped airing all the Indian channels to protest blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by agitators opposing Nepal's new Constitution.
The Ministry said that the cable operators violated the provisions and had stopped broadcasting the channels without any prior notice.
The Ministry has asked them to furnish clarification within 24 hours and continue the broadcast. President of Federation of Nepal Cable Television Association, Sushil Parajuli yesterday said that the cable operators decided to stop the broadcast of the Indian channels as "India has been intruding in the national sovereignty of Nepal."
Unrest in Nepal's Terai plains over the new Constitution has led to the blockade of Birgunj trade checkpoint with India, cutting off vital supplies. The country is reeling under scarcity of essential goods including petroleum products and cooking gas due to the blockade along the border areas.
Normal life has been severely affected due to the growing tension in the border areas. Meanwhile, the cadres of agitating Madhes-based parties today vandalised Nepal-bound vehicles which were stranded at Indian customs point.
Three vehicles ferrying goods, including petroleum products, were vandalised at Ram Janaki Temple in Sunauli, the Indian town bordering Nepal this afternoon. Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, "The blockade has damaged Nepal-India relations and also shattered Modi's efforts to cement ties between the two neighbours."
Meanwhile, Bijaya Gachhadar, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Democratic, a moderate Madhesi party, after attending a meeting with the government officials claimed that the border blockade was not due to the agitating Madhesi cadres.
A meeting was held between Chairman of Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and Terai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur at latter's residence at Sanothimi in the district today.
At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities. The agitating Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities. Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India.