Nepali citizens launched anti-India protests along the border on Friday, a day after their government alleged that India’s Sashastra Seema Bal had shot dead a Nepali the previous night. SSB personnel on Thursday clashed with people from the neighbouring country over the construction of a pillar in disputed territory near Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri along the border.
In a statement, the government of Nepal claimed that Govinda Gautam, who was in his 20s, was killed after Indian guards had opened fire at protesters agitating over a damaged culvert in Nepal’s Anandabazaar, near the border. A senior Indian official, however, denied any such casualty, adding that the SSB had only used teargas shells “to disperse hundreds of agitated Nepali citizens” when they entered Indian territory and pelted stones at jawans, PTI reported.
Even so, a spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry of India, Gopal Baglay, said they had initiated an investigation into the matter and had asked Nepal to submit forensic and postmortem reports. Officials of both countries have agreed to take steps to maintain peace in the region and to suspend all cross-border movement for the time being, according to Reuters.
On February 18, Nepal had begun to construct a culvert near pillar no. 200, which falls under territory claimed by both countries. The dispute over the construction began after the pillar was reported missing. While authorities from both sides decided to put the work on hold till a definite boundary was decided, SSB jawans on Thursday noticed that Nepal had resumed the construction and then objected to it.
Lakhimpur Kheri District Magistrate Akash Deep told Hindustan Times that “thousands of Nepali citizens entered Indian territory and set up a Nepal flag”. SSB Commandant Dilbag Singh said Nepali people had pelted stones at SSB jawans and injured seven of them after they objected to the construction.
Top Indian leaders, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, had intervened to stop the matter from escalating.