Ten people, including police personnel, were injured in a clash that broke out between locals and police personnel in Belaka Municipality, Udayapur, today.

The clash ensued after the police opened eight rounds of fires in the air and fired eight tear gas shells to stop locals from vandalising the municipality office.

Police have arrested 14 people for their alleged involvement in the incident.

The injured people are undergoing treatment at Udayapur District Hospital and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan.

Hundreds of locals from wards 3, 8 and 9 had picketed the municipality office and resorted to vandalism.

"The clash erupted after the police opened fire in the air and lobbed tear gas shells to stop the locals from vandalising the office," said CDO Tulashiram Sedhai.

Nepal government had decided to convert the 176-hectares land belonging to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve to kabuliyat forest on May 20. The decision has irked the local people ever since. They are irked at the municipality saying that it had recommended conversion of the land they were living in into kabuliyat forest.

Municipality staffer Gopal Niraula said locals had come to the municipality office for talks, and resorted to vandalising the office while the talks were still on.

"Locals vandalised the office of Mayor Durga Thapa and the meeting hall," Niraula added.

Nepali Congress local leader Sushil Sedhai said the mayor had supported the idea of evacuating the locals from their place and handing over the land to Barah Herbal and Agro Private Limited Proprietor Nilhari Kafle. The land has been awarded to the agro firm owned by Kafle for its conversion into the forest.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 1 2021, of The Himalayan Times.