Tension arose on Friday, at the India-Nepal border along Bihar’s Sitamarhi district when an Indian civilian was killed, two others injured while one detained by Nepalese Armed Police Force.
The deceased was identified as Vikas Kumar Rai (25) who suffered a bullet injury in the abdomen area while the injured Uday Thakur (24) and Umesh Ram (18) were rushed to Sitamarhi Sadar Hospital and are said to be out of danger. Another man Lagan Yadav (45), who was detained by the Nepal Police was also injured in the firing.
Preliminary reports obtained from the Indian locals suggest that the confrontation began when APF troops objected when some women and Lagan Yadav were seen talking to the latter’s daughter-in-law who is a Nepalese citizen. They were asked to return to the Indian side by the Nepalese APF who were patrolling the area. The objection of APF personnel triggered a verbal altercation and some more villagers joined Lagan Yadav from the Indian side.
This was also verified by Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal, Kumar Rajesh Chandra, “At around, 8:40 am a family was going to Nepal. They were stopped by Nepali security personnel at the border and asked to go back which triggered a verbal altercation. Nepal security personnel fired around 15 rounds, in which three persons were injured and one person died,” while speaking to ANI.
This created a ruckus and the APF first fired in the air to disperse the crowd and fearing snatch into snatchir weapons, they later initiated aimed fire in which one person died and three got hit.
During this incident, the three received bullet injuries while working in their agricultural fields.
Chandra insisted that the issue is local and rose from a local altercation. “I would like to reiterate that this is a completely local issue that emerged instantly from an altercation. It wasn’t because of any matter that was brewing for long”, he told ANI.
Chandra added, “One person has been detained by Nepali security personnel and we’re in talks with them so that they release him and matters don’t escalate. Everything happened in Nepal, not on the Indian side.” However, Lagan Yadav was released by the Nepalese APF on Saturday morning.
Nageshwar Rai, the father of the deceased, expressed grief and agony on losing his son to bullet injury. He said that his agricultural land falls under Narayanpur in Nepal where his son was working. “Nepal’s security forces fired 15-16 rounds at unarmed villagers of Janakinagar, Sitamarhi, Bihar, killing Vikesh Rai and injuring two others”, He added.
Locals on both sides of the Indo-Nepal border maintain relations and have families on either side as it is open and is not fenced. People move around to meet their family members.
According to Chandra, a factual report, that has been formed on the basis of preliminary findings, has been submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The government is yet to make a statement on this incident.
Nepal’s take on the incident:
Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) responded to the incident saying, “A group of 25-30 Indian nationals was trying to enter Nepal and they attacked the Nepalese security personnel at Narayanpur area of Parsa Rural Municipality in Sarlahi district in southern Nepal,” as reported by PTI.
Narayan Babu Thapa, APF Additional Inspector General of Police quoted PTI, “After they were stopped at the border area by the forward base of the Armed Police Force, who were deployed to enforce the lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of others joined them and pelted stones on the security personnel.”
As per Thapa, these Indian Nationals snatched weapons from one of the security men. “After firing 10 rounds of bullets in the air, our personnel had to open fire in self-defense in which one person was killed and two others were injured.”, he added.
Tension at Indo-Nepal Border:
India shares a 1,850-kilometre open border with Nepal and people travel across it for work and to visit family. Nepal closed its international borders on March 22 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The ties between India and Nepal have stressed-out since 8 May, after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically significant road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand. Following this, on 13 May, Nepal had deployed APF near Kalapani at Chhangru, on the Nepalese side of the border.
Last month, on 20 May, Nepal released the revised political and administrative map of the country claiming the three areas that India says are part of its territory-Kalapani, Lipulekh, and Limpiyadhura. India sternly asked Nepal not to resort to any “artificial enlargement” of territory.
According to the PTI report, Nepal’s Prime Minister, K P Sharma Oli, said in the parliament, “We will get back the land occupied by India through holding a dialogue.”
Nepal’s lower house has voted for a constitutional amendment to incorporate these territories in its official map despite India’s objections.
According to a PTI report from Kathmandu, a “house meeting” of the Nepalese parliament has been scheduled for Saturday to complete the amendment process.
Past Indo-Nepal Relations:
The territorial dispute between India and Nepal is as old as the ‘Sugauli Treaty’ signed by Nepal and British India on 4 March 1816.
There have been occasions in the past when the relations between the two became sour but things eventually ended up coming to normal.
Though India and Nepal shared a relationship of harmony and cooperation but never did Nepal had come too far in challenging India.