In a shocking development, a Nepalese journalist who reportedly wrote an article on Chinese encroachment in Rui village in Gorkha district has been found dead. The body of a 50-year-old journalist identified as Balaram Baniya was found at the banks of Bagmati River near the hydropower project area in Mandu, Himalayan Times quoted the spokesperson at District Police Office (DPO), Makwanpur, as saying on Friday.
A team deployed from Area Police Office in Bhimphedi fished out his body from the river and sent it to Hetauda Hospital. According to reports, Baniya was last seen walking along the banks of Balkhu river. His location, according to his mobile phone, showed the same, after which the phone was switched off. His family had filed a missing report with the police, following which a manhunt was launched to trace him, Kathmandu Post reported.
"As per the application received for his search, which also contained his photo, it has been verified that the body that was found was that of journalist Baniya," according to the DPO. According to Kathmandu Post, Baniya was associated with Kantipur Daily, a Nepali newspaper, since the paper's initial days. He used to cover politics and parliament and later did extensive reporting on governance and bureaucracy.
He reportedly wrote an article highlighting the Chinese encroachment in Rui village located in Gorkha district. In June, several media reports said that China has occupied a village of Nepal and allegedly removed the boundary pillars to legitimise its annexation. Apart from Rui village, China has also occupied strategic lands at 11 places across Nepal. Around 36 hectares of land in four districts of Nepal, which border China, have been illegally occupied by China, reports added.
Meanwhile, Nepal's foreign ministry (MoFA) last month said media reports regarding boundary issues and illegal encroachment of some territories by China were false and that the subject matter doesn't fall under its jurisdiction. "The news allegedly based on the 'report' of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development which that Ministry has already refuted and clarified stating that such "report" doesn't exist and that the subject matter doesn't fall under its jurisdiction," the MoFA said in a press release.
The journalist's death comes amid the strained bilateral relations between India and Nepal after the Himalayan nation included the Indian territories of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura in its controversial new political map.
(With agency inputs)