Amid tension surrounding the death of a Nepalese citizen, allegedly in firing by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel posted at the border, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday telephoned Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda and condoled the death, a statement issued by the Nepalese Prime Minister’s Secretariat said.
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Prachanda, expressing Nepal’s readiness to provide the required support for the investigation, said the Kanchanpur incident was “very serious”. He expressed hope that the guilty would be booked.
In Kathmandu, Charge d’ Affaires at Indian Embassy Vinay Kumar on Friday called on Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and condoled the death. Kumar too informed Bairagi that an inquiry has been initiated into the incident.
India has sought Gautam’s post-mortem and forensic reports.
Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Gopal Baglay said on Friday that officials of the two border districts, Kanchanpur in Nepal and Lakhimpur Kheri in India, met after the incident and agreed to maintain peace.
“Following reports of the death of a Nepali national yesterday (Thursday) at the India-Nepal border, allegedly in a firing incident, the SSB has initiated an inquiry into this matter.
“The Government of Nepal is being requested through diplomatic channels to share post-mortem and forensic reports to facilitate the process,” Baglay said.
According to reports, Gautam was killed when SSB personnel allegedly opened fire following a dispute over the construction of a culvert across the Sano Khola river along the frontier in Uttar Pradesh. The Indian embassy in Kathmandu has denied any firing by SSB personnel deployed on the Indian side of the border. The incident has triggered protests in the neighbouring country and its government has demanded a probe into the incident. The SSB has denied reports of any firing by its men but ordered a probe.
Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement on Friday night, said, “The Government of Nepal has already taken up this matter with serious concern at higher diplomatic level of the Government of India with a demand to investigate the incident and bring the guilty to justice.” Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi spoke to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue, media reports here said.
The situation on the border remained tense on Friday, with hundreds of Nepalese citizens gathering there and hurling stones at SSB personnel. The stone-pelting left three SSB personnel, including company commander T K Hans, and three civilians injured, said SSB Commandant Dilbag Singh.
SSB Director General Archana Ramasundaram said they have ordered a fact-finding inquiry that will be conducted by a DIG-rank officer of the force.
“Our troops have told us that there has been no firing from their side but as the allegations are serious, I have ordered a Court of Inquiry,” she told PTI.
Meanwhile, the deceased has been declared a martyr by the Nepal government. Along with the martyr status, the government will provide Rs 1 million compensation to the next of the kin of the victim and fund the education of his children, Home Minister Nidhi said while addressing the Legislature-Parliament meeting on Friday.
(With PTI inputs)