‘No need to raise ‘Akhanda Bharat Mural’ issue with India’

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Kathmandu, Jun 5: In a controversial statement that may further mobilise opposition against the coalition government led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Foreign Affairs Minister, N P Saud has said that Nepal is not aware of the controversial mural inscribed on the walls of Indian parliament that shows Kapilvastu and Lumbini as part of ‘Akhanda Bharat’.

Saud said in an interview with Aaj Tak of India Today group that this is not an issue in Nepal and as such does not warrant us taking up with India. ‘Rather, it should be India’s responsibility to speak about it’.

Almost justifying the mural and including Nepali territory in it, he said it involves history 2,500 years ago when there were many ‘republic entities’.

Minister Saud who accompanied Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal during his Official visit to Delhi said India and Nepal should sort out existing border disputes through bilateral dialogue at multiple layers.

He also stated that it is not the border issue and shared that he came to see on Facebook about the mural that represents “kingdoms existed before 2500 years”.

Minister Saud’s statement, however, contradicts the earlier version of Energy Minister Shakti Basnet who had stated that Nepal is ascertaining facts about the controversy.

Prime Minister Dahal, on the other hand, had tried to skirt the issue in Delhi by saying that it would not have been wise raising the issue and vitiating the atmosphere that was moving towards positive direction.

Former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition had asked Dahal on the eve of the Visit that he should call off the meeting if had no courage to raise the mural issue with the Indian side.