Govt denies using force on protesters

Kathmandu, November 2

Home Secretary Surya Silwal said police cleared Madhesi protesters only after they entered the Nepali territory from the no-man’s land along the Miteri Bridge, where they had been staging sit-in for the last 40 days obstructing the major Birgunj-Raxual trading point .

“We couldn’t do anything at Das Gaja (no-man’s land) without India’s consent,” Secretary Silwal told The Himalayan Times. “Earlier, we had sought India help to clear them and resume movement of vehicles through the Birgunj-Raxual trading point. Unfortunately, we didn’t get support from the Indian side despite our repeated requests.”

According to him, Nepali security forces didn’t made attempts to evict them until they were staging sit-in at Das Gaja. “But from yesterday, they started entering Nepali territory to obstruct supply routes. It was only then that we stepped forward to evict them without using force,” he stated.

He told this daily that of the two of the five protesters arrested during police action were Indian nationals. The Indian nationals have been identified as Mahamad Jamaruddin,60, and Samad Ansari, 23, of Champaran, Motihari, Bihar. There were 30-40 protesters when the police evicted them. “We found that almost half the protesters were Indian nationals,” he added.

According to Silwal, immediately after the protesters were evicted, at least 299 Indian trucks that had long been stranded in the Nepali territory were sent to India, but when the Nepali side expected the same cooperation from the Indian side, the protesters gathered again and started blocking supply routes and pelting stones at the Nepali security personnel.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that police opened fire at protesters in Birgunj in self-defense after the latter started hurling petrol bombs at various offices, including a local police post.

An Indian youth, Aashish Kumar Ram, from Raxaul of Bihar state of India, was killed in the incident this afternoon.

Issuing a press statement, the ministry said police were compelled to open fire as their repeated bid to take the situation under control by charging batons and firing tear gas shells failed.

Earlier, the police had fired 44 rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the mob, which was attacking the security personnel, read the statement.

The crowd had hurled a petrol bomb at local Inarwa Police Post, injuring 10 Armed Police Force and seven Nepal Police personnel.