MY INDIA VISIT The Good, the Bad and the worst experience

Indian Para military force /police  let people cross the border after taking fifty to three hundred rupees!  

By LB THAPA FOR THE ROAMING POST, from New Delhi, India

It is my first visit to India after India has imposed economic blockade against Nepal. I generally always travel to India by train or plane but for this time I decided to travel by bus. Actually I was not aware of a bus service from Pokhara to New Delhi. I was quite eager to get firsthand experience by a bus trip to Delhi.

TROUBLE BEGAN FROM SUNAULI BORDER

It was about 8 o’clock in the evening when we reached the Sunauli border. Indian security personnel asked to vacate the bus along with our luggage. It took nearly two hours for the army personnel to check our luggage thoroughly. I did not mind this sort of checking because security is must. We have not forgotten how terrorists had hijacked Indian plane from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.

Eventually, we were let go but hardly had we moved ahead for two minutes than a police team stopped our bus and began searching our luggage once again. Those policemen were very rude and started taking out clothes and other items from our bags. We objected for unnecessary troubles they were giving us but they were adamant. My surprise knew no bound when one policeman started asking money from each passenger, who carried no bills of the goods they were carrying. The surprising thing was that the policemen were even asking bills of old goods we carried. I took risk and filmed one of the policemen who was openly asking money from the passengers. He frisked my body then my bag and found laptop.

“What is this?” he asked tersely.

“It is a laptop” I replied politely.

“Show me its receipt” he ordered.

“I don’t have its receipt now here with me but I have at my home” I replied.

“Then you have to pay custom duty” he threatened.

I was surprised how he can ask custom duty on my personal laptop. I was annoyed and told him that I could carry personal items such as mobile and laptop and no custom duty can be charged against such items. But the policeman who told himself custom police remained adamant and ordered me to get down the bus and meet the officer. I had no option but to follow his order. The passenger sitting beside me told that those corrupt Indian policemen would not let me go without coughing out some bucks into their pockets. In the meantime a passenger sitting behind my seat advised me not to pay more than fifty rupees. I was utterly confused with the ongoing development. With utter confusion I got down the bus with my mini laptop in my hand. I saw four or five policemen sitting around a table. One of them must be the senior officer who asked me to keep my laptop on the table. He also asked me to show the receipt of the laptop and I gave him the same answer which I had given to the policeman in the bus. The officer asked me to pay one thousand rupees or they would seize my laptop. I requested them but my words merely fell on their deaf ears.

When I sensed that there was no escape from their clutches I decided to use my trump card. I said with a commanding voice “I am amazed that you even don’t spare a journalist. Don’t you know what you are doing with me won’t go unnoticed? I will definitely flash it in the media”. It worked. The officer’s face turned pale. He asked my press accreditation that I showed him. He changed his color and started behaving more like a wise owl. He expressed his apology for the inconvenience then he let me go with honour. I returned to my seat more like a winner. The other passengers in the bus told me that it has been a tradition on the Indian border side to pay money to Indian policemen.

PAY FIFTY TO THREE HUNDRED RUPEES TO ENTER INDIAN BORDER

Long stretch of Indo-Nepal open border has always been the subject of much concern for the security of India. Terrorism has become a biggest headache for India. There are terrorists within India and infiltrations from neighboring countries have always put Indian security at risk. Unfortunately I found Indian para military/policemen are openly giving an opportunity to people to enter India at the cost of merely fifty to three hundred rupees.

How this is happening! Well, I saw how Indian para military personnel/policemen taking fifty rupees to three hundred rupees from each passenger who carried no proof of identification as they are the legitimate citizen of Nepal. It means even a terrorist can easily enter into India after paying fifty to three hundred rupees.

At a time when Indian soldiers are fighting hard against infiltrators in Jammu & Kashmir, here para-military force and police personnel let people allow into India after receiving fifty to three hundred rupees. Is it not a huge security lapse at the Indian border? A boy who was on the seat behind me spoke very poor Nepali but he produced Nepali citizenship where his surname was ‘Gurung’. He could neither speak Nepali well nor Gurung language. When I asked him if he could speak gurung language he denied. Indian police took three hundred rupees from him and let him travel to Delhi. Jay ho corruption!

THE SUPPORTERS OF MADHESI MORCHA VANDALIZE THE BUS

Two buses had left for India on the day I boarded the bus from Pokhara to Delhi. One bus had AC and another one was non AC. The bus which was non AC had its front glass broken. When I asked how the glass was broken then the driver told me that the previous week while crossing Sunaoli border a group of Madhesi protestors broke the front glass. Now the bus owner wanted to get the glass fixed in Delhi. “It is much cheaper to fix the front glass in Delhi than in Nepal” said the driver. He drove the bus all the way from Pokhara to Delhi with the front glass broken. The driver bribed every policeman who objected him from driving a bus which front glass was broken. Jay ho corruption!

FOREST IN DELHI?

Without doubt Delhi has already become too polluted. The city dwellers gasp for an ounce of fresh air that seems almost impossible in Delhi in these days. However, there are still some places in Delhi where a sizable amount of forest exists. Yes, I am speaking about the Cantt area of Delhi. A military colony has been developed around the Cantt areas where mostly army officers live. The bungalows are built sparsely but the trees are grown thick. Trees are so thick that every bungalow is completely covered with several trees and wide open space has provided an opportunity for the health conscious people. Exotic birds are the special attraction in the military colony. There are so many birds in the Cantt area it seems that all the birds of Delhi have taken refuse in the area. Indian national bird peacock is quite common to be sighted here which freely roam around the backyards of these bungalows.

INDIAN DEVELOPMENT BUT POOR MAINTENANCE

Without doubt in the recent years Indian economy has taken galloping strides. All round economic development can be seen across the country. However, India has been ill famous for poor management of things the country has developed. Look at the condition of many government hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere in India. Dirt, garbage and poor maintenance of buildings and things can be seen everywhere. I thoroughly noticed lack of cleanliness in and around the places of great importance. Except a few monuments of historical importance there are numerous other forts and palaces of ancient times which have received no attention from the government. Most of such things are left unnoticed and uncared. However, Delhi Metro is an exception. Its operation is unique and professional. In addition its security is perfect. Cleanliness in the Metro has also been maintained thoroughly.

MERA IMAN MAHILAUKO SAMMAN

While roaming around Delhi I saw many tempos plying on the road with the message “Mera Iman Mahilauko Samman (My commitment is to respect women). During the reign of Sheela Dixit the people of Delhi were very upset as the cases of rapes had sky rocketed. This could be one potent reason why Dixit lost Delhi election. Arvind Kejriwal, the present chief minister of Delhi, barged into politics more like a Bollywood hero’s entry in a cinema. The people of Delhi have more expectations from Kejriwal and their prime concern is to clamp down the rape cases with effective steps. I spoke with some local residents of Delhi, but they said that rape cases have slowed down a bit but more or less even today girls are not safe on the street of Delhi. Many supporters of Aam Admi Party (AAP) members say that their party is doing its best to improve the quality of life in Delhi and as a result more people in Delhi feel much better now than before. When I asked them about the rape cases which have not receded that much as before. Upon this they said that if central government gives the police under their government’s command and control they can completely root out the problem forever. “It is Modi’s government that wants to make us unpopular in Delhi. This is the reason why they have not given the command and control of Delhi Police under the Delhi administration” said Bipin Singh an active party member of AAP.

After talking with many people I realized more people strongly dislike congress party in Delhi. They vented their anger against Sheela Dixit and Congress party. They even declared that Shila Dixit was the worst chief minister Delhi had ever had.

CORRUPTION IN SPORTS

Every Indian accepts this fact that Indian sports have not made as much progress as it should. Indian achievements in sports are too little in context of its population and economic growth. Today China has left India far behind in sports. Now question is why Indian sports have failed to rise. Well, I have its answer…it is all due to rampant corruption in the field of sports. Players are not manufactured in factories they should be groomed right from the beginning. The influential people and corrupt officials regularly put pressure to select the players of their choices regardless of performance. This is the naked truth of Indian sports where corruption is deep rooted from junior level to senior level.

In the end this scribe would like to conclude his words with a positive note as at present the relationship between India and Nepal is passing through a difficult time. Indian embargo against Nepal has created much difficulty in Nepal. The present Indian embargo has only supported a handful Madhesi who have raised some unconstitutional demands. India and Nepal have friendly ties since the time immemorial. Any dispute whatsoever must be resolved by talks. I hope India will look at Nepal more like a friend as Nepal is. Let’s not forget that brave Gorkhalis have also shed much of their blood to defend India more like their own country.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

LB Thapa is a travel blogger. He is also the author of six books. His books have been published by Nirala Publications, New Delhi, India and Himalayan Maphouse, Kathmandu, Nepal. His book, POKHARA AND ANNAPURNAS has been translated into seven foreign languages. LB Thapa’s books are also available on http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lb+thapa

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