New Delhi/Kathmandu: Nepali security forces on Sunday arrested two Indian security personnel after they intruded into the Himalayan nation while chasing smugglers, a senior official said. The detainees were later released by the Nepali authorities.
A Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) official said a 13-member SSB patrolling party was chasing smugglers near the India-Nepal border when constables Roshan and Ram Prasad mistakenly entered Nepal in foggy conditions in the early morning on Sunday.
Both were detained by the authorities in the eastern Nepali Jhapa district. Nepali media earlier reported that 13 SSB personnel were detained.
Both SSB personnel were released later in the afternoon, and they had since returned to the Indian territory, the SSB official told IANS.
The official said the two men were unarmed when they entered Kechana village in Jhapa district of Nepal mistakenly while chasing the smugglers.
“Our men were caught by the villagers and handed over to Nepal’s Armed Police Force. They were not manhandled,” he said.
Asked about the Nepali media report saying that 13 SSB men were detained by the APF, the official said: “It is not true. Only two constables of the 13-member patrolling team crossed the border — and they were detained.”
“The 11 remaining SSB personnel later approached Nepal’s Armed Police Force to get them freed. Our men informed APF how the two SSB men crossed the border while chasing smugglers. The APF officials then freed our men,” the official told IANS.
He further said that smugglers carried out their activity with impunity along the India-Nepal border.
“Our men also faced a clash on Saturday evening when an SSB patrolling team seized 1,500 litres of diesel being smuggled to Nepal from India,” the official told IANS.
The English-daily Kathmandu Post reported earlier that the Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) detained 13 SSB men at Kechana in Jhapa after they entered Nepal while chasing oil smugglers.
They were kept in detention at an APF camp in Kechana, it said.
Jhapa Chief District Officer Tej Prasad Poudel said they were trying to ascertain if the SSB personnel mistakenly entered Nepal.
Residents were quoted as saying that the detained SSB personnel had thrashed a Nepali, Mohammad Alam, while searching his house for smugglers. Four of the 13 SSB personnel had weapons, the report said.
The APF team then reached Alam’s house and detained the Indians.
The SSB personnel reportedly entered Nepal by crossing the No Man’s Land near Kechana, the media reports said.
Smuggling of petrol and diesel has become rampant along the India-Nepal border ever since anti-constitution protests in Madhesi-populated areas since September led to an effective blockade of the border.
Meanwhile, a jeep bearing an Indian number plate was vandalised at Kanchanpur in far-western Nepal, a media report said. Five Maoist activists were detained following the incident on Saturday, The Kathmandu Post said.
Police escorted the vandalised jeep across the border into India.