Security personnel at the spot of violence at Sitamarhi near the India-Nepal border on Friday. India’s Sashast...Read More
PATNA/NEW DELHI: A day ahead of a vote in Nepal’s parliament seeking to change the nation’s map to include a part of India in its territory, tensions escalated along the border in Sitamarhi district on Friday after a local disagreement turned ugly and led to firing by the Nepal Armed Police Force in which one Indian national was killed and two received serious injuries while another was detained in Nepal.
Sashastra Seema Bal
(SSB) which guards the border, said the incident was “completely avoidable” and was an offshoot of a local situation with no wider implications. The incident took place around 8.40 am when some residents of Jankinagar in Pipra Parsaini panchayat under Sonbarsa police station in Sitamarhi district had gone to the border area in Nepal to meet relatives there. The Nepal APF reportedly objected to the meeting in violation of lockdown norms to check Covid-19, leading to an argument between the Indian nationals and the troops.
The situation deteriorated when some APF members reportedly thrashed Lagan Rai (45) and dragged him to the nearby border outpost in Nepal. Those from the
tried to rescue him. In the scuffle that ensued, APF personnel opened fire, causing bullet injuries to three people.
alias Vikas Rai (25) died on the spot while Udai Thakur (27) and Umesh Ram (20) suffered injuries in the hand and thigh. Locals told the police that Lagan’s daughter-in-law was a resident of Nepal and those injured had gone to see her.
Inspector general, SSB, frontier headquarters, Sanjay Kumar said the incident took place between Lalbandhi in Sitamarhi and Narayanpur in Nepal.
“The site of occurrence is deep inside Nepal and not ‘no man’s land,” he told TOI over phone soon after reports about firing along the international border reached the frontier headquarters in Patna.
When contacted, Nepal police DIG Raj Arya called the firing “unfortunate” and said word from seniors was being awaited for Lagan’s release. He claimed the APF personnel fired in self-defence when a mob of around 50 people attacked them and tried to snatch their weapons. “Whatever happened today shouldn’t have happened,” he added.
SSB DG Kumar Rajesh Chandra, in a byte to ANI shared by SSB, clarified that the incident was not linked to any brewing tension along the India-Nepal border. "I would like to reiterate that this is a completely local issue that emerged from a local altercation and had emerged just instantly. Our nearest border outpost is 1.5 km from there. Our personnel are keeping an eye and our senior officers have got in touch with Nepal APF’s senior officers," he said.
"You are well aware that people get married from this side to (those from) that side. So ties are quite strong. Probably, she and some other members of Lagan Rai’s family were having a chat. It is claimed by Nepal APF personnel that they objected... This led to an altercation, an avoidable altercation I will say, because this was a completely local issue," Chandra said.
Nepal police alleged that the Indian villagers became aggressive and 15 rounds were fired, five in the air. The villagers, on the other hand, said the APF troops were at fault. According to the Chandra, the SP of Sarlahi (the adjoining district on the Nepal side) was in touch with the Sitamarhi SP. “They will be instituting a case on both sides based on their (own) versions," he said.
Meanwhile, tension is brewing among residents of
village under Chhauradano police station in East Champaran district and Sanfulwa under Bara district in Nepal following assault on one Narad Yadav (Indian citizen) by the APF three days ago. On Thursday, a mob of residents assembled on the border to protest the incident.
(With inputs from Shyam Kishore Singh in Sitamarhi and C B Pandey in Motihari)