Nepal’s cable federation has suspended the broadcasting of Indian television channels and the government has started rationing fuel for vehicles at India-Nepal border amid protests against the newly-adopted Constitution.
Hundreds of lorries carrying food and fuel lined up on the Indian side, while protesters on the other side of the border sat on the road to block their path.
Some lorries started to move across the Sunauli-Bhairahawa border crossing, a customs official in Nepal said, but more than 1,000 trucks were still stranded on Indian side.
Tension between the South Asian nations had spiked since Nepal adopted a new Constitution last week, upsetting southern minority groups who fear being marginalised in a new federal structure.
The Federation of Nepal Cable Television suspended broadcasting of Indian channels in Nepal to protest against the blockade.
“Our Nepal Government claims that everything is in order. But all of a sudden all the Indian news channels have been blocked. Many people are affected. It has hampered people’s right to access news,” said Pradeep, a resident of Kathmandu.
More than 40 people have been killed in protests in the Himalayan republic since August. Indian oil trucks stopped crossing into Nepal because of protests in the south, prompting authorities to try to limit the use of cars and conserve fuel.
Nepal is almost totally dependent on India for overland supplies following earthquakes in the spring that killed nearly 9,000 people and blocked crossings from China.
India has been critical of Kathmandu for rushing through the constitution, despite opposition from minorities living close to the Indian border.
Nepal’s largest trading partner, India strongly denies a trade blockade, saying its lorries have been hampered from entering Nepal firstly due to security concerns and later because protesters were blocking the roads.