Indian security forces on Tuesday fired several rounds to control thousands of Bhutanese refugees trying to enter the Indian side. One refugee youth was killed and several others were injured. Panitanki is the only road link with Nepal here. The passage has been sealed.
An indefinite curfew has been imposed in the area. Indian and Nepalese officials are scheduled to meet on Wednesday morning at Panitanki. According to Darjeeling district magistrate Rajesh Pandey, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has been told to be on extra alert.
IG, West Bengal (law and order), Raj Kanojia said the SSB fired in the air when the Bhutanese refugees, living in camps in eastern Nepal, tried to enter through Panitanki. They were trying to go to Bhutan via India to participate in the mock polls.
The situation worsened at about 2 p.m. when they entered India through a bridge and started throwing stones at SSB personnel. Nepal Red Cross Society’s district secretary Lok Raj Dhakal said 16 people were injured in the incident. Top SSB officials and West Bengal police are camping at the site.
The refugees had left Bhutan for Nepal in the early 90s due to alleged army torture. They are now demanding repatriation to their homeland.
With PTI inputs