Nepal-India border tensions rise, one killed. Explained in 10 points
India-Nepal border row: Here’s a roundup of the latest incident and the geo political background in which it is happening.Updated: Jun 12, 2020, 18:02 IST
One Indian farmer has been killed and at least three more are injured in firing by Nepal police during an altercation with Indian farmers across the border at Sitamarhi district in Bihar. The incident comes at a time of continued tension between the two south Asian neighbours over conflicting territorial claims. Here’s a roundup of the latest incident and the geo political background in which it is happening.
1. 25-years old farmer Vikesh Kumar Rai was killed and two others, Umesh Ram and Uday Thakur received bullet injuries while working in an agricultural field in firing by Nepal security forces, said locals. Another person Lagan Rai is said to have been detained by the Nepali police across the Lalbandi-Janki Nagar border in Pipra Parsain panchayat under Sonebarsha police station in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district.
2. According to another account by the director general of Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB) Kumar Rajesh Chandra, quoted by ANI, the incident took place at around 8:40 am on Friday when a family going to Nepal was stopped and asked to return by Nepali security personnel at the border. This he says led to a verbal altercation.
3. Chandra told ANI that the Nepal security personnel fired around 15 rounds of ammunition including 10 in the air. He also made it clear that the firing happened inside Nepal’s territory and not on the Indian side of the border, a fact also corroborated by additional director general of police (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar.
4. The officer said that the Nepali security had detained one person—identified as farmer Lagan Rai by one account-- and Indian forces were engaging their Nepali counterparts in talks to have him released to ensure that issues don’t escalate further. The external affairs ministry has not given any immediate reaction to the development. The district magistrate and the superintendent of police of Sitamarhi have rushed to the spot.
5. The incident comes amid India’s sharp disagreement with Nepal’s move to revise its map laying claim to Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, which fall in Uttarakhand state. Nepal’s lower house has voted for a constitutional amendment to include these territories in its official map despite India’s objections. Nepal’s parliament is holding a special meeting tomorrow to complete the amendment process.
6. The border issue was first raised by Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli after India formally opened the 80-km road to Lipulekh Pass for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in the month of May.
7. India has described Nepal’s map move as a ‘unilateral act’ not based on historical facts or evidence and has asked Kathmandu to ‘refrain’ from bringing about an ‘unjust’ and ‘artificial enlargement of territorial claims’.
8. Following the map move, Nepal has increased troops presence on the border with India. The two countries share an open border of 1,880 kms. Nepal had closed its international borders on March 22 as a containment measure against the coronavirus pandemic.
9. Several experts see the new map as attempt by the Nepal PM to galvanise public support by whipping up ultra-nationalistic sentiments. Some experts have also pointed to China’s close ties with Nepal’s ruling communist party to add another perspective to the issue.
10. India has been supportive of all neighbours including Nepal which was supplied with 25 tonnes of medical aid, including paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine tablets, test kits and other supplies to aid in the fight against coronavirus spread. India has also taken care to ensure that the supply of essential goods to Nepal is not disrupted despite the lockdown on both sides.