NEW DELHI (AP) — Nepal border police opened fire on Friday at Indian villagers who were attempting to cross the border into Nepal despite a coronavirus lockdown there, killing one and injuring two others, Indian police said.
Police officer Rajesh Chandra said the Nepalese police first fired warning shots and later shot at the villagers during a scuffle as they insisted on visiting a relative in Nepal.
In Kathmandu, Narayan Babu Thapa, a Nepalese assistant inspector general of police, said around 100 Indian men had tried to enter Nepal.
“Our security force tried to stop them. They attacked our security force with stones. One of them snatched a gun and ran away. Police first fired in the air as a warning. But they kept hurling stones at Nepalese personnel. So our personnel were compelled to fire at them in self-defense,” he said.
The injured were hospitalized in Sitamarhi, a border town around 85 kilometres (50 miles) north of Patna, the capital of India’s Bihar state, Chandra said.
Chandra said the situation at the border was later defused by police officers from the two countries.
India and Nepal normally have free movement of people across their border, but the Indian villagers were stopped on Friday by the Nepalese police because of the pandemic.
A border dispute has strained relations between the South Asian neighbors. Nepal has objected to India’s recent inauguration of a Himalayan road at a strategic three-way junction with Tibet and China. Nepal says the road passes through its territory.