Eyewitness accounts from locals in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district recount the horrific brutality and intimidation by Nepal’s security personnel who on June 12 had resorted to unprovoked firing on a group of people at the international border, which left one Indian dead and two others injured. “18-20 shots were fired for over one hour and everyone is reeling with shock even now,” said Nitish Kumar, a resident of Jankinagar recalling the incident that took place early on Friday morning.
Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) opened fire at the Lalbandi-Jankinagar border in which three persons, identified as Vikesh Yadav, Umesh Ram and Uday Thakur sustained gunshot injuries. Yadav succumbed to his injuries on Friday itself. Another person Lagan Kishore, who was at the border with his family to meet his daughter-in-law, a Nepali national and her family, said he was detained by APF personnel who dragged him to the other side of the border.
Kishore said that the Nepali personnel abused and hit him with rifle butts and even abused his son and later resorted to firing. Several residents of Jankinagar, whom ANI spoke to termed the incident as unfortunate and shocking.
According to Nitish Kumar, “A family was here to meet their in-laws (Nepali nationals). The daughter-in-law was talking to her family while her husband and her father-in-law sat a little distance away. Suddenly I saw Nepali personnel abusing her husband who complained about it to his father. All of a sudden the Nepali forces started thrashing them and then opened fire. They also took the father into custody.” “We were all shocked. I could hear about 18-20 gunshots fired over a period of one hour,” Kumar said.
Another local who identified himself as Ajit Kumar said he was perplexed with the behaviour of the Nepali Police. “There used to be no problems earlier. We don’t understand what happened to Nepal Police that day. The firing is unfortunate. If this continues, how will people in the border area live?” he questioned. Kumar stated that such an incident has taken place for the first time.
“People from here go to work in fields in Nepal and their people come to work in our fields. Such a thing has happened for the first time. About 80 per cent of our people are married to Nepalis,” he said. Many people who live in the adjoining districts of Bihar, which shares over 600 kilometres of border with Nepal, have relatives on either side of the border.
Meanwhile, Nepali police have claimed that Lagan Kishore, who was taken into custody following the firing by APF and handed over to Indian Security Forces at no man’s land on June 13, was detained for trying to snatch a weapon from one of their personnel during an altercation. However, both Kishore and his family have denied the claims and said he was “dragged” across the border and was beaten.
Kishore said that during the firing he had rushed towards the Indian side but Nepalese personnel hit him with rifle butt and took him to Nepal’s Sangrampur. He was also asked to confess that he was taken into custody from the Nepali side. “We ran to return to India when they started firing, but they dragged me from the Indian side, hit me with a rifle butt and took me to Nepal’s Sangrampur. They told me to confess that I was brought there from Nepal. I told them you can kill me but I was brought there from India,” said Kishore.
Kishore’s son also said that Nepali personnel started abusing them and hit him and his father. Speaking to ANI, Kishore’s son said, “We went to meet my brother-in-law. Security personnel started abusing me but I could not understand their language. However, my brother’s wife asked them to not abuse. After that, they came to the Indian side and hit me. I told my father about the incident and he confronted them.”
“They started beating him and called fellow personnel who started firing and dragged my father from the Indian side, hit him with a rifle butt and took him to Nepal’s Sangrampur,” he said. Relations have become strained between India and Nepal after the latter released a map showing parts of Indian Territory-Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its own.