Nepal | May 28, 2020

Police, demonstrators clash in Birgunj

• Indian national killed • Indefinite curfew imposed • Other border points closed

RAM SARRAF
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Demonstrators obstructing a road after Nepal Police and Armed Police Force forcibly opened the border point, in Birgunj, on Monday.

Demonstrators obstructing a road after Nepal Police and Armed Police Force forcibly opened the border point, in Birgunj, on Monday. Photo: Ram Sarraf

Birgunj, November 2

An Indian national died in police firing during a clash between police and United Democratic Madhesi Front cadres in Birgunj today.

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Police have identified the deceased as Aashish Kumar Ram, 24, of Raxaul and said he died in the police attempt to quell the tension that had escalated following use of force to remove the front’s cadres from Miteri Bridge, the site of the sit-in.

Parsa Chief District Officer Keshavraj Ghimire said Ram had pelted stones at the police. Ram’s kin, however, said he was shot in the head while returning home from Birgunj.

On his part, SP Rajubabu Shrestha of District Police Office said police had to resort to firing bullets and around two dozen tear gas canisters after agitators attacked security personnel with stones.

Eight demonstrators including an 11-year-old boy were hit by rubber bullets in different parts of Birgunj today. They are undergoing treatment at Birgunj-based Narayani Sub-regional Hospital. More than two dozen are said to be injured when police baton-charged. Five demonstrators have been detained. SP Shrestha said eight police personnel were injured in today’s clash.

Parsa district administration has enforced indefinite curfew in Birgunj with effect from 3:00pm today. According to Ghimire, the curfew will be in place at Bypass, Naya Bus Park, Powerhouse Chowk, Radhemai, Adarshanagar, Ranighat and Chhapkaiya areas and from Shankaracharyadwar to Inarwa till further notice.

Tension in Birgunj had built up after police used force early in the morning to disperse agitators who had been staging a sit-in at Miteri Bridge in the Dasgaja area for the past 40 days. After the police action, the agitators demonstrated at Ghantaghar, Maisthan, Chhapakaiya, Adarshanagar, Naya Buspark, Nagawa and other places, by burning tyres and chanting slogans against the government. The agitators also carried on with the sit-in at Miteri Bridge. The agitators also burnt the Nepal Telecom Office and a police post in Mirjapur and torched a bike in Lalparsa.

After police dispersed agitators from Miteri Bridge, as many as 229 empty Indian vehicles returned to India through the border point. No vehicles were, however, allowed into Nepal.

Meanwhile, citing insecurity in the wake of the situation in Birgunj, India has closed the entry points of Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Nawalparasi of Lumbini zone from today afternoon, bringing to a complete halt all export and import through the points.

According to SSP Sher Bahadur Basnet of Lumbini Zonal Police Office, Bhairahawa; Belahiya, Madheshpur, Maryadapur and Krishnanagar entry points have been closed. “Now all but light vehicles such as motorbikes, bicycles and rickshaws have been banned from crossing the border,” said Basnet.

With the closure of entry points, vehicles carrying fuel and other cargo, which had been re-routed from Raxaul and were entering Nepal through Belahiya entry point have also been stranded on the Indian side.

Chief District Officer Bishnu Prasad Dhakal of Rupandehi said talks are on with Indian officials to reopen the entry point.

Belahiya is the second biggest entry point of Nepal, after Birgunj.

Likewise, India also closed the Rupaidiya entry point near Nepalgunj today. As per sources of the area police office Jamunaha, Sasastra Sima Bal personnel on the Indian side have not allowed vehicles to enter Nepal citing directives from higher up.

Though Indian vehicles crossed over into either side of the border, Nepali vehicles were not allowed to do so.


 

Oli requests Modi to help

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help resolve the problem Nepali people are facing due to disruption of essential supplies.

Oli’s press adviser Pramod Dahal said Indian PM Modi had telephoned Oli and discussed the uneasy situation in Nepal and ways to resolve it.

According to Dahal, Modi told Oli that he was aware of the situation at the Nepal-India border and India would take the initiative to resolve the problem. Dahal also added that Modi told Oli that he was for strengthening relations with Nepal.

In response, Oli said Nepal was also for strengthening bilateral ties with India.

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India concerned about Indian’s death in firing

KATHMANDU: India has expressed deep concern over the death of an Indian national in police firing in Birgunj today.

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“We are deeply concerned at reports coming in of firing today in Birgunj. An innocent Indian was also killed in the firing,” the Spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said in response to a question on the situation in Nepal.

The Indian Embassy said that issues facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved by force. Causes underlying the present state of confrontation need to be addressed by the Government of Nepal credibly and effectively.

It also stated that Indian freight forwarders and transporters have voiced worries about the situation. “We are advising them to exercise caution and not put themselves in danger,” said the Embassy adding that it was “monitoring the situation carefully”.

Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae called on Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa and Home Minister Shakti Basnet and expressed concern about the resumption of violence in border areas.


A version of this article appears in print on November 03, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.


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