- A group of Maoist hardliners in Nepal called for a ban on vehicles with Indian number plates and on Bollywood movies. Pictured, a Maoist rally in Kathmandu, Nepal, June 15.
In what may just be an attempt to get some attention, a group of Maoist hardliners in Nepal on Wednesday reportedly called for a ban on vehicles with Indian number plates and on Bollywood movies.
The Kathmandu-based news portal Nepalnews.com reported that the group said their goal is to promote economic development “based on national independence,” and to protect local employment and investments.
In a statement quoted in the report, the group said they wanted to “ban Indian films that defame and disrespect Nepal and Nepalis, promote obscenity and spread cultural pollution.” Indian goods and movies are ubiquitous in Nepal, a landlocked country squeezed between China and India.
But their call is unlikely to find many backers. The group, called the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), has struggled to become relevant in Nepal since it splintered from the more moderate and ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) earlier this year. The Maoist party has criticized the UCPN(M) for being pro-India and for having allegedly abandoned revolutionary goals to pursue a process of peace and reconciliation since the country’s civil war ended in 2006. Party officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
While few are expected to respond to their call, on Wednesday some local leaders of the group targeted cinemas in an attempt to enforce the ban in several districts, Nepalnews.com reported.
India has long been viewed with suspicion in Nepal, especially by its left-wing parties, which have criticized New Delhi’s policy towards the country as expansionist.
Nepalese government officials weren’t immediately available for comment. A spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.