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Friday, October 23, 2020

Indian civilian killed, two others wounded as Nepal Police opens fire near Bihar border

One Indian civilian has been arrested by the Nepal Armed Police Force. Sources said the incident occurred inside Nepal in Sarlahi area, which is across the border from Sitamarhi in Bihar.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: June 12, 2020 8:10:05 pm
   India-Nepal border, Bihar-Nepal border, Nepal police firing, Sitamarhi, Sitamarhi firing, India-Nepal border tensions, India Nepal firing, indian express Sitamarhi: An injured villager is shifted to a hospital after indiscriminate firing by the Nepal police at the Lalbandi-Janki Nagar border, near Saitmarhi district of Bihar, Friday, June 12, 2020. (PTI Photo) 

The Nepal Armed Police Force, which guards the Indo-Nepal border, Friday killed an Indian civilian and injured two others near the border across Sitamarhi district of Bihar.

The development comes in the backdrop of increasing tension between India and Nepal over the latter’s claim over strategically important Kalapani and Lipulekh among other areas on the Indo-Nepal border. Nepal has even come up with a new map showing these areas as part of Nepal.

Sources said the incident occurred inside Nepal in Sarlahi area, which is across the border from Sitamarhi in Bihar.

Sources in Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which guards the Indian side of the border, said the incident occurred at around 8.40 am when a Sitamarhi family, which has relations across the border, entered Nepal but were stopped by Nepal APF and an altercation ensued.

Indo-Nepal border: The map shows Bihar’s Sitamarhi district and Sarlahi in Nepal. (Source: Google Maps)

The deceased has been identified as Vikesh Yadav while the injured, with bullet wounds in their legs, have been identified as Umesh Ram and Uday Thakur. Yadav was shot in the chest.

The Indian establishment, however, chose to play down the incident, calling it a local issue. “This is a completely local issue with no country-to-country or force-to-force ramifications. The issue arose on the spot and the local police from either side are engaged with each other to sort the matter out. Our DIG is also in touch with DIG of Nepal APF and there is absolutely no tension on the border,” SSB DG Chandra told the Indian Express.

Explained: The new Indian road to Lipu Lekh, Nepal’s protests, and the area’s strategic importance

He insisted that such altercations routinely happen on the border and in the last six months five such incidents have happened, albeit none reported any fatality.

According to SSB, it has discussed the matter with the Nepal APF and also submitted a report with the Ministry of Home Affairs on the entire episode.

According to Chandra, the family of Lagan Yadav, who is a resident of Janaki Nagar village under Sonbarsa Police Station in Sitamarhi, had gone across the border in Narayanpur in Sarlahi to meet his daughter-in-law, who is a citizen of Nepal. The two families were interacting near the border inside Nepal when they were interrupted by the Nepal APF, which asked them to go back as there was lockdown in Nepal till June 14.

An altercation ensued over Nepal APF’s behaviour with women. Even as the women went back, the Yadav family allegedly made phonecalls and gathered about 60-70 people. “The Nepal Armed Police claims that these people became aggressive. The converse is claimed by the Indian people gathered there. During the altercation, Nepal APF fired 15 rounds. They claim 10 of these rounds were fired in the air and when the situation could not be controlled, people were fired at. Three people got injured of which one succumbed to his injuries in a private nursing home in Sitamarhi. Lagan Yadav has been arrested by Nepal APF,” Chandra said.

According to Chandra, after the firing the crowd dispersed and came back to Sitamarhi where the injured were admitted in a hospital. When asked why Nepal APF did not take the injured to the hospital themselves, Chandra said, “What they did or did not do, I cannot comment on that.”

In November 2015, when tensions between India and Nepal were similarly high over trade blockade, an Indian civilian was killed by Nepal Armed Police near the Birganj border in Bihar.

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