1. From targeting Muslims in India, in their game to outshout each other, Indian TV channels are turning their eyes to Nepal-India border. One channel is playing up 'corona fidayeen' with 'corona bomb' coming across. Is there full impunity for media in India these days?
2. DG Police Bihar says on camera: "SSB is on alert all over the frontier. If you can't cross from one [Indian] zilla to another, how can there be infiltration across the international border. It's impossible" TV reporter sahab will have none of it: "DGP sahab kuch be kahen..."
3. The report is based on a SSB letter suggesting a plan to infiltrate Covid-18 infected Indian Muslims into India. SSB letter is directed to DM & SP West - & Bihar Police chief has spoken, so that was that. But not for TV-18 channel & its news chief Shalinder Wangu @Wangu_News18
4. For decades, Indian spooks (based in Patna) claimed all kinds of inifiltration from Nepal-mostly exaggerated claims or manipulations for domestic purposes or to make KTM authorities nervous. Now SSB's got into the act. Long ago,a hyped India Today scoop turned up a damp squib.
5. We've watched the Coronavirus used as 'force multiplier' to Islamophobia within India, with silence from the ruling party. This communal virus must be doused within India for its own sake + the lethal jingoism should not be exported, for who knows the dangers of unleashed evil
6. The Nepal-India open border is a unique gift of history to Southasia, & the cross-border demography is nearly identical. While there are logical demands for border monitoring, the jingoism of Indian media may raise populist demands that Delhi Govt may not be able to withstand.
7. Indian and Nepali administration and security officials have an open line of communications, and they need to investigate any and all allegations that come forth, and Indian TV channels should be more circumspect (an understatement).
8. The Nepal-India border is open, but it is increasingly controlled, particularly by SSB on the Indian side. Sashastra Prahari Bal on Nepal side does not have as many posts, but they're being added to at this time. My point: its not as easy to 'infiltrate' as some might believe.
9. I have no hope for TV-18, but Indian media in general & analysts should understand value of Nepal-India crossborder cultural connections, and how these insidious 'news' reports will affect the linkage between the Nepal Tarai & Western UP, Purvanchal, Bihar, WB and elsewhere.
10. Finally, Indian analysts should be empathetic to Nepali job migrants who work in India, as also to Indian job migrants in Nepal. Nepal makes up 7th largest remittance earner for Indian economy, which goes to support poorest parts of India from Bihar to Orissa.