Nepali citizen killed along border, India denies firing

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, March 9 (IANS) A Nepali national was killed when Indian border guards Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) allegedly opened fire at the Nepal-India border on Thursday following a dispute over building a culvert over Sano Khola river in Kanchanpur district of Nepal.

Kanchanpur shares the border with India's Uttarakhand state.

Govinda Gautam, 20, of Punarbas Municipality-8 in Kanchanpur district, died after he was injured when an SSB Inspector from Sampurnanagar station allegedly opened fire, locals said.

The incident took place in Ananda Bazar along the Nepal-India border.

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, however, categorically denied any firing by the SSB personnel.

"In response to queries by the local media regarding disturbances near the border at Aananda Bazaar, Kanchanpur, it is categorically denied that there was any incident of firing by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)," the embassy said in a statement.

"There is a need to maintain calm and let the survey officials of both sides discuss the location of border pillars before any construction work is undertaken," it stated.

District officials have been directed to cooperate to defuse the situation, said the statement.

A dispute erupted in the border area after Nepal-India pillar number 200 went missing and both sides staked claim and counter-claim over the piece of land in the No-man's Land.

The Nepali side was constructing the culvert in an area that is claimed by the Indian side. The situation became tense on Thursday after the SSB personnel, who were accompanied by residents of the Indian border town of Basahi, allegedly fired in the air.

Nepali residents said the SSB personnel contended that certain Indian territory was transgressed while digging for the construction.

Chief District Officer of Kanchanpur Manohar Prasad Khanal told the local media that Nepali nationals in border areas had been protesting since morning after the Indian authorities objected to the construction of a culvert in the locality claiming that was No-man's Land.

Gautam sustained a bullet injury when the Indian police Inspector allegedly fired during the altercation. Gautam succumbed to the bullet injury while being taken to hospital.

Security personnel from the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force have been deployed in the area to bring the situation under control.

After the death of Gautam, hundreds of Nepalis demonstrated outside the hospital where his body was kept.

Locals in Ananda Bazar also accused the SSB of manhandling Nepali nationals living in the border areas and blocking the Nepal-India border since Thursday morning.