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Nepal denies planning to approve India-funded Buddhist study centre in Mustang

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar06’23) – No Buddhist college or university funded by the government of India is going to come up in Nepal’s Buddhist district of Mustang bordering Tibet after all, as Kathmandu has refuted local media reports and former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s criticism of such a plan.

Issuing a statement, government spokesperson and Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rekha Sharma said that the government had not decided to establish any such institution in the district, reported the kathmandupost.com Mar 6.

Sharma has also stated there was information that Baragung Mukti Chhetra Rural Municipality of Mustang had written to the Indian Embassy seeking financial assistance to establish a college. The government would investigate the matter.

The kathmandupost.com earlier reported Mar 5, following previous local media reports at the end of February, that at the request of the local Barha Gaun Mukti Chettra Rural Municipality, the government of India was going to spend over Rs 700 million to set up the Buddhist college in the restricted territory of Upper Mustang.

The report cited government officials as saying the proposal was forwarded to the government of India at the request of the local municipality, although no final decision had been taken yet.

Rekha Sharma, government spokesperson and Minister for Communication and Information Technology of Nepal. (Photo courtesy: Kathmandu Post)

The report also said the Mustang Sakya Buddha Sangh had taken the initiative to open the college, arranged land for it and then requested the Indian side via the government of Nepal.

But now the minister has said: “A public statement floated in the media attributing to the former prime minister and CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli has drawn the serious attention of the Nepal government. We will study and investigate the matter and the government will make it clear through a statement.”

What is more, the minister has also said: “The statement that the government was preparing to establish a university at Baragung Mukti Chhetra Rural Municipality of Mustang on the proposal of one country and targeting another was illusionary. The government would like to make it clear that no decision has been taken to this effect.”

The report further cited the minister as saying the government was committed to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, integrity, national interests and independent and non-aligned foreign policy, seeming agreeing with the criticism of any such plan.

Earlier, while addressing a party event, Oli had alleged, “Establishing a Buddhist college in Mustang to placate foreigners is an assault on our nationality and betrayal of China, which is our friendly nation.”

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